Despite great strides in urgent care, overprescribing of antibiotics and related resistance to potentially lifesaving medications continues to be a concern across multiple practice settings. Sometimes it’s easier to write that prescription than it is to resist the urge to please patients and rack up high satisfaction scores. What if we found out that prescribers are equally swayed by the opinion of a respected colleague? That could be the case, it turns out, according to an article just published online by JAMA Network. After 3,500 high-prescribing primary care physicians in Ontario, Canada received a letter penned by a physician peer targeting appropriate antibiotic durations, there was a 4.8% relative reduction in overall antibiotic use. The authors concluded that “a single, peer-comparison, antibiotic-feedback letter to high-prescribing physicians can be effective and cost saving, especially if it includes targeted messaging on appropriate durations of antibiotic prescriptions.” If you find that there continue to be outliers when it comes to appropriate antibiotic prescribing, consider asking one of your in-house thought leaders to write a white paper or conduct some in-house continuing education on the benefits of prescribing in line with relevant guidelines—as well as the potential dangers of failing to do so.
Peer Pressure May Actually Be a Good Way of Discouraging Inappropriate Prescriptions