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Effect of Behavioral Interventions on Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing Among Primary Care Practices

D Meeker

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Importance Interventions based on behavioral science might reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Objective To assess effects of behavioral interventions and rates of inappropriate (not guideline-concordant) antibiotic prescribing during ambulatory visits for acute respiratory tract infections. Design, Setting, and Participants Cluster randomized clinical trial conducted among 47 primary care practices in Boston and Los Angeles. Participants were 248 enrolled clinicians randomized to receive 0, 1, 2, or 3 interventions for 18 months. All clinicians received education on antibiotic prescribing guidelines on enrollment. Interventions began between November 1, 2011, and October 1, 2012. Follow-up for the latest-starting sites ended on April 1, 2014. Adult patients with comorbidities and concomitant infections were excluded. Interventions Three behavioral interventions, implemented alone or in combination: suggested alternatives presented electronic order sets suggesting nonantibiotic treatments; accountable justification prompted clinicians to enter free-text justifications for prescribing antibiotics into patients’ electronic health records; peer comparison sent emails to clinicians that compared their antibiotic prescribing rates with those of “top performers” (those with the lowest inappropriate prescribing rates). Main Outcomes and Measures Antibiotic prescribing rates for visits with antibiotic-inappropriate diagnoses (nonspecific upper respiratory tract infections, acute bronchitis, and influenza) from 18 months preintervention to 18 months afterward, adjusting each intervention’s effects for co-occurring interventions and preintervention trends, with random effects for practices and clinicians. Results There were 14 753 visits (mean patient age, 47 years; 69% women) for antibiotic-inappropriate acute respiratory tract infections during the baseline period and 16 959 visits (mean patient age, 48 years; 67% women) during the intervention period. Mean antibiotic prescribing rates decreased from 24.1% at intervention start to 13.1% at intervention month 18 (absolute difference, −11.0%) for control practices; from 22.1% to 6.1% (absolute difference, −16.0%) for suggested alternatives (difference in differences, −5.0% [95% CI, −7.8% to 0.1%]; P = .66 for differences in trajectories); from 23.2% to 5.2% (absolute difference, −18.1%) for accountable justification (difference in differences, −7.0% [95% CI, −9.1% to −2.9%]; P < .001); and from 19.9% to 3.7% (absolute difference, −16.3%) for peer comparison (difference in differences, −5.2% [95% CI, −6.9% to −1.6%]; P < .001). There were no statistically significant interactions (neither synergy nor interference) between interventions. Conclusions and Relevance Among primary care practices, the use of accountable justification and peer comparison as behavioral interventions resulted in lower rates of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections.

 


Web-Based Access to Positive Airway Pressure Usage with or without an Initial Financial Incentive Improves Treatment Use in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

ST Kuna

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We tested whether providing adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with daily Web-based access to their positive airway pressure (PAP) usage over 3 mo with or without a financial incentive in the first week improves adherence and functional outcomes.Academic- and community-based sleep centers.One hundred thirty-eight adults with newly diagnosed OSA starting PAP treatment.Participants were randomized to: usual care, usual care with access to PAP usage, or usual care with access to PAP usage and a financial incentive. PAP data were transmitted daily by wireless modem from the participants' PAP unit to a website where hours of usage were displayed. Participants in the financial incentive group could earn up to $30/day in the first week for objective PAP use ≥ 4 h/day.Mean hours of daily PAP use in the two groups with access to PAP usage data did not differ from each other but was significantly greater than that in the usual care group in the first week and over 3 mo (P < 0.0001). Average daily use (mean ± standard deviation) during the first week of PAP intervention was 4.7 ± 3.3 h in the usual care group, and 5.9 ± 2.5 h and 6.3 ± 2.5 h in the Web access groups with and without financial incentive respectively. Adherence over the 3-mo intervention decreased at a relatively constant rate in all three groups. Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire change scores at 3 mo improved within each group (P < 0.0001) but change scores of the two groups with Web access to PAP data were not different than those in the control group (P > 0.124).Positive airway pressure adherence is significantly improved by giving patients Web access to information about their use of the treatment. Inclusion of a financial incentive in the first week had no additive effect in improving adherence.

 



Risking it all for love? Resetting beliefs about HIV risk among low-income South African teens

S Datta

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Research suggests that the much higher HIV prevalence among young women in sub-Saharan Africa than among males of their age cohort is linked to the high prevalence of age-disparate sexual partnerships, and that incorrect beliefs about the relationship between age and HIV-risk are partly responsible. We report the results of an experiment that tests whether a simple, computer-based “HIV risk game” leads to better understanding of the relationship between HIV-risk and age among low-income South African adolescents than a version of the traditional “brochure approach” to dispensing information does. Our results are striking. The randomly assigned treatment group, which receives repeated doses of information about the link between age and HIV-risk as feedback to their own responses to simple questions about relative HIV-risk, is significantly more likely to correctly identify which of a pair of hypothetical men or women of different ages is more likely to have HIV than the control group. Subjects in the treatment group answer, on average, 1.65 times as many questions about HIV risk and age correctly as those in the control group. We also find that subjects’ (particularly female subjects’) beliefs about HIV risk among women are less accurate than their beliefs about HIV risk among men. Finally, a follow-up survey with no significant difference in attrition rates between those in the treatment and control groups, shows substantially higher information retention among treatment subjects than among control subjects.

 



Effect of Financial Incentives to Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels: A Randomized Clinical Trial

DA Asch

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Importance Financial incentives to physicians or patients are increasingly used, but their effectiveness is not well established. Objective To determine whether physician financial incentives, patient incentives, or shared physician and patient incentives are more effective than control in reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) among patients with high cardiovascular risk. Design, Setting, and Participants Four-group, multicenter, cluster randomized clinical trial with a 12-month intervention conducted from 2011 to 2014 in 3 primary care practices in the northeastern United States. Three hundred forty eligible primary care physicians (PCPs) were enrolled from a pool of 421. Of 25 627 potentially eligible patients of those PCPs, 1503 enrolled. Patients aged 18 to 80 years were eligible if they had a 10-year Framingham Risk Score (FRS) of 20% or greater, had coronary artery disease equivalents with LDL-C levels of 120 mg/dL or greater, or had an FRS of 10% to 20% with LDL-C levels of 140 mg/dL or greater. Investigators were blinded to study group, but participants were not. Interventions Primary care physicians were randomly assigned to control, physician incentives, patient incentives, or shared physician-patient incentives. Physicians in the physician incentives group were eligible to receive up to $1024 per enrolled patient meeting LDL-C goals. Patients in the patient incentives group were eligible for the same amount, distributed through daily lotteries tied to medication adherence. Physicians and patients in the shared incentives group shared these incentives. Physicians and patients in the control group received no incentives tied to outcomes, but all patient participants received up to $355 each for trial participation. Main Outcomes and Measures Change in LDL-C level at 12 months. Results Patients in the shared physician-patient incentives group achieved a mean reduction in LDL-C of 33.6 mg/dL (95% CI, 30.1-37.1; baseline, 160.1 mg/dL; 12 months, 126.4 mg/dL); those in physician incentives achieved a mean reduction of 27.9 mg/dL (95% CI, 24.9-31.0; baseline, 159.9 mg/dL; 12 months, 132.0 mg/dL); those in patient incentives achieved a mean reduction of 25.1 mg/dL (95% CI, 21.6-28.5; baseline, 160.6 mg/dL; 12 months, 135.5 mg/dL); and those in the control group achieved a mean reduction of 25.1 mg/dL (95% CI, 21.7-28.5; baseline, 161.5 mg/dL; 12 months, 136.4 mg/dL; P < .001 for comparison of all 4 groups). Only patients in the shared physician-patient incentives group achieved reductions in LDL-C levels statistically different from those in the control group (8.5 mg/dL; 95% CI, 3.8-13.3; P = .002). Conclusions and Relevance In primary care practices, shared financial incentives for physicians and patients, but not incentives to physicians or patients alone, resulted in a statistically significant difference in reduction of LDL-C levels at 12 months. This reduction was modest, however, and further information is needed to understand whether this approach represents good value.