Indexed on: 14 May '08Published on: 14 May '08Published in: Annals of family medicine
In an environment of multiple campaigns promoting judicious antibiotic use in children, identification of effective strategies is important. We assessed physician responses to a community-level intervention with respect to antibiotic prescribing, related practices, and perceived effectiveness.This study was a mixed qualitative and quantitative evaluation of a randomized controlled community-wide educational intervention in 16 Massachusetts communities. Physicians in intervention communities received locally endorsed guidelines, group educational sessions, and biweekly newsletters. Parents simultaneously received materials in physicians' offices and by mail. After the intervention, we conducted a mailed physician survey and individual interviews to assess the impact of the intervention. We compared survey responses for intervention and control physicians, and we analyzed interview transcripts to provide in-depth information about selected topics.Among survey respondents (n = 168), 91% of intervention and 4% of control physicians reported receiving intervention materials. Physicians received information from multiple other sources. More intervention than control physicians reported decreased antibiotic prescribing from 2000-2003 (75% vs 58%, P = .03), but there were no differences between groups in knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors favoring judicious antibiotic use. Both groups were concerned about antibiotic resistance and reported room to reduce their own prescribing. Interviewed physicians suggested frequent repetition of messages, brief written materials on specific topics for themselves and patients, and promotion in the mass media as the most effective strategies to reduce prescribing.In multiple communities an intervention in physician offices to promote judicious antibiotic prescribing reached its intended audience, but physicians' self-reported attitudes and practices were similar in intervention and control communities. Campaigns that repeat brief, consistent reminders to multiple stakeholder groups may be most effective at assuring judicious antibiotic use.