A RCT evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of academic detailing versus postal prescribing feedback in changing GP antibiotic prescribing

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PurposeThe aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of academic detailing (AD) plus postal prescribing feedback versus postal prescribing feedback alone in reducing: (i) the overall rate of antibiotic; and (ii) proportion of second-line antibiotic prescribing. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of an outreach prescriber adviser service versus a postal prescribing feedback service was evaluated.MethodsVolunteer general practitioner practices (n = 98) were randomized to receive prescribing feedback via postal bulletin (PB) (n = 50) or academic detailing plus postal bulletin (AD) (n = 48). Data analysis was based on the HSE-primary care reimbursement service (HSE-PCRS) prescribing database. Regression (β) coefficients, indicating proportion change in prescribing per month, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) are presented. The cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated from the total cost of the intervention divided by percentage change in antiobiotic prescribing in AD versus PB group.ResultsImmediately post intervention PB (β = −0.02, 95% CI −0.04, −0.001) and AD (β = −0.02, 95% CI −0.03, −0.001) practices significantly decreased overall antibiotic prescribing. Second-line antibiotic prescribing was also significantly decreased by 2-3% in both groups. However, there were no significant differences in antibiotic prescribing between the randomized groups in the immediate or long-term post-intervention period. In the cost-effectiveness analysis a postal prescribing feedback service would cost €88 per percentage change in prescribing practice compared with €778 for a prescriber adviser service.ConclusionPrescribing feedback significantly reduced overall and second-line antibiotic prescribing, but academic detailing was not significantly more effective than postal bulletin in changing antibiotic prescribing practice.

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