“Letter from chief medical officer cuts antibiotic prescribing”
“The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government, in partnership with Australia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Department of Health, released a new report showing that targeting high-prescribing physicians with a letter from the CMO helped lower the number of antibiotic prescriptions within 6 months.
To conduct the randomized control trial, researchers identified the top 30% antibiotic prescribers by region. The CMO sent letters explaining antimicrobial resistance to one group, no letters to a control group, and letters containing information comparing the physician’s prescribing behavior to his or her peers to other groups.
Six months after receiving the letters, doctors who had received a letter that included peer comparisons had reduced their prescribing by 12%.
“Compared to GPs who did not receive a letter, the peer comparison letters resulted in a 9.3 to 12.3 percent reduction in prescription rates over six months. In comparison, the education-only letter reduced antibiotic prescriptions by 3.2 percent over six months,” the authors said.
The authors concluded that a peer comparison letter, signed by a respected authority, was an effective way to target antibiotic overuse.”