Behavioral Interventions Reduce Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing for Acute Respiratory Tract Infections


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Jun 15;93(12):1037.

Clinical Question

Do behavioral interventions reduce rates of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections in primary care?

Bottom Line

Requiring clinicians to justify antibiotic prescribing in the permanent electronic health record and to undergo periodic peer comparisons of prescribing rates are effective interventions for reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections. Helpful reminders and suggested treatment alternatives do not reduce inappropriate prescribing rates. Information alone rarely changes behavior, but the desire to conform with our peers can be very persuasive. (Level of Evidence = 1b−)


Clinical guidelines encourage avoiding antibiotics for infections when treatment is of minimal, if any, benefit. However, inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections persists. These investigators invited 49 practices in Massachusetts

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP,search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.


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May 1, 2017

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