Primary care physicians (PCPs) include general practice or family physicians.
Prolonged antibiotic prescriptions are defined as more than 7 days’ duration.
Error bars indicate 95% CIs.
aP = .006 for interaction.
Protocol and statistical analysis plan
eAppendix. Initiation and Duration Letters
eTable 1. Oral Outpatient Antibiotic Drugs Included in the Various Antibiotic Classes
eTable 2. Comparison of primary care physicians in Ontario, Canada included and not included in this intervention
eTable 3. Absolute mean number of total antibiotic prescriptions and marginal differences compared to controls
eTable 4. Absolute mean number of prolonged duration (>7 days) antibiotic prescriptions and marginal differences compared to controls
eTable 5. Absolute mean antibiotic costs (CAN$) and marginal differences compared to controls
eTable 6. Regression model coefficients
eFigure 1. Change in total antibiotic prescriptions over time between the initiation letter and control
eFigure 2. Change in total antibiotic prescriptions over time between the duration letter and control
eFigure 3. Change in prolonged duration prescriptions over time between the initiation letter and control
eFigure 4. Change in prolonged duration prescriptions over time between the duration letter and control
eFigure 5. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of the duration letter compared to the initiation letter for the outcome of total antibiotic use
eFigure 6. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of duration letter compared to the initiation letter for the outcome of prolonged antibiotic duration
eFigure 7. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of the initiation letter compared to control for the outcome of total antibiotic use
eFigure 8. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of initiation letter compared to control for the outcome of prolonged antibiotic duration
eFigure 9. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of duration letter compared to control for the outcome of total antibiotic use
eFigure 10. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of the initiation or duration letters compared to control for the outcome of total antibiotic use
eFigure 11. Forest plot showing subgroup analysis of the initiation or duration letters compared to control for the outcome of prolonged antibiotic duration
Data Sharing Statement
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Schwartz KL, Ivers N, Langford BJ, et al. Effect of Antibiotic-Prescribing Feedback to High-Volume Primary Care Physicians on Number of Antibiotic Prescriptions: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(9):1165–1173. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.2790
Does providing a single, mailed, peer-comparison letter on antibiotic use to high-prescribing primary care physicians targeting either initiation or duration of antibiotic treatment modify prescribing behavior?
In this randomized clinical trial of 3500 primary care physicians in Ontario, Canada, receipt of a letter targeting appropriate antibiotic durations resulted in a statistically significant 4.8% relative reduction in total antibiotic use.
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.
Antibiotic overuse contributes to adverse drug effects, increased costs, and antimicrobial resistance.
To evaluate peer-comparison audit and feedback to high-prescribing primary care physicians (PCPs) and assess the effect of targeted messaging on avoiding unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions and avoiding long-duration prescribing.
Design, Setting, and Participants
In this 3-arm randomized clinical trial, administrative data collected from IQVIA’s Xponent database were used to recruit the highest quartile of antibiotic-prescribing PCPs (n = 3500) in Ontario, Canada.
Physicians were randomized 3:3:1 to receive a mailed letter sent in December 2018 addressing antibiotic treatment initiation (n = 1500), a letter addressing prescribing duration (n = 1500), or no letter (control; n = 500). Outliers at the 99th percentile at baseline for each arm were excluded from analysis.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was total number of antibiotic prescriptions over 12 months postintervention. Secondary outcomes were number of prolonged-duration prescriptions (>7 days) and antibiotic drug costs (in Canadian dollars). Robust Poisson regression controlling for baseline prescriptions was used for analysis.
Of the 3465 PCPs included in analysis, 2405 (69.4%) were male, and 2116 (61.1%) were 25 or more years from their medical graduation. At baseline, PCPs receiving the antibiotic initiation letter and duration letter prescribed an average of 988 and 1000 antibiotic prescriptions, respectively; at 12 months postintervention, these PCPs prescribed an average of 849 and 851 antibiotic prescriptions, respectively. For the primary outcome of total antibiotic prescriptions 12 months postintervention, there was no statistically significant difference in total antibiotic use between PCPs who received the initiation letter compared with controls (relative risk [RR], 0.96; 97.5% CI, 0.92-1.01; P = .06) and a small statistically significant difference for the duration letter compared with controls (RR, 0.95; 97.5% CI, 0.91-1.00; P = .01). For PCPs receiving the duration letter, this corresponds to an average of 42 fewer antibiotic prescriptions over 12 months. There was no statistically significant difference between the letter arms. For the initiation letter, compared with controls there was an RR of 0.98 (97.5% CI, 0.93-1.03; P = .42) and 0.97 (97.5% CI, 0.92-1.02; P = .19) for the outcomes of prolonged-duration prescriptions and antibiotic drug costs, respectively. At baseline, PCPs who received the duration letter prescribed an average of 332 prolonged-duration prescriptions with $14 470 in drug costs. There was an 8.1% relative reduction (RR, 0.92; 97.5% CI, 0.87-0.97; P < .001) in prolonged-duration prescriptions, and a 6.1% relative reduction in antibiotic drug costs (RR, 0.94; 97.5% CI, 0.89-0.99; P = .01). This corresponds to an average of 24 fewer prolonged-duration prescriptions and $771 in drug cost savings per PCP over 12 months.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this randomized clinical trial, a single mailed letter to the highest-prescribing PCPs in Ontario, Canada providing peer-comparison feedback, including messaging on limiting antibiotic-prescribing durations, led to statistically significant reductions in total and prolonged-duration antibiotic prescriptions, as well as drug costs.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03776383
Overuse of antibiotics is contributing to a public health crisis of antimicrobial resistance. It is estimated that drug-resistant infections will increase dramatically in the coming decades without interventions to curb unnecessary antibiotic use.1 Greater use of antibiotics is associated with an increase in patient-level and ecological-level drug resistance.2-4 Inappropriate antibiotic use is also associated with adverse drug effects, increased seeking of health care for self-limited illnesses, and increased costs.5,6Quiz Ref ID The majority of human antibiotic consumption occurs in the community and is prescribed by primary care physicians (PCPs), which makes this group of prescribers crucial stakeholders and partners in antimicrobial stewardship efforts.7 An estimated 25% to 50% of all antibiotics prescribed in primary care are unnecessary, with substantial geographical and prescriber variability.8-12 Furthermore, there is substantial antibiotic overuse through excessively prolonged prescribing durations, particularly in later-career PCPs.13,14
Peer-comparison audit and feedback can be an effective tool to modify PCP behavior and improve patient outcomes.15 The behaviors associated with unnecessary antibiotic treatment initiation are generally not related to knowledge gaps, nor are they responsive to education alone.16,17 Physicians frequently attribute unnecessary antibiotic prescribing to external factors, such as perceived patient expectations.18 Conversely, unnecessary prolonged-duration antibiotic prescribing is more likely related to a knowledge gap because research showing the noninferiority of shorter antibiotic courses compared with longer ones is relatively new clinical evidence.13,19-24 Social normative feedback can be a powerful motivator for change.25 Previous randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating antibiotic peer-comparison audit and feedback have been mostly effective in reducing antibiotic use without causing harm.16,26-28 Further research is needed to elucidate the effective aspects of antibiotic audit and feedback on prescribing that build on advances in behavioral sciences and are scalable across health care systems.
The objective of this RCT was to evaluate the effect of notifying PCPs that they are in the highest antibiotic prescribing quartile compared with their peers. We hypothesized that social normative feedback would affect antibiotic initiation. We further hypothesized that focused educational content on appropriate initiation and duration would have additional effects on the volume of antibiotics prescribed or volume of prolonged-duration prescriptions, respectively.
We performed a 3-arm parallel RCT with an allocation ratio of 3:3:1 to receipt of a single mailed feedback letter with recommendations on antibiotic initiation, receipt of a similar letter but with recommendations on prescribing duration, or no letter (control). We used an unequal allocation ratio to maximize any potential effect the intervention would have on antibiotic use in the population. The trial protocol (Supplement 1) was approved by the Ethics Review Board at Public Health Ontario, and a waiver for informed consent was granted owing to the minimal risk and burden to participants in receiving a single letter. A debrief letter was mailed to all PCPs at study completion.
All family physicians or general practitioners in Ontario, Canada (population, 14.4 million) were ranked by highest to lowest total number of antibiotic prescriptions based on prescribing data between March 1, 2017, and February 28, 2018 (regardless of patient volume). We only included oral antibiotics dispensed by outpatient pharmacies (eTable 1 in Supplement 2). The 3500 highest-prescribing PCPs (of 12 888) were identified from administrative data and included in the trial.
The data set used was from the Xponent database from IQVIA, which captures 61.3% of outpatient prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacies in Ontario. IQVIA then supplements this database with insurance and antibiotic sales data and applies a proprietary geospatial extrapolation algorithm to project to 100% of all prescriptions. IQVIA projection methodology is internally validated29 but not publicly available. We previously validated the Ontario Xponent database as a reliable data source in identifying high-volume antibiotic prescribers.30
Each letter informed the PCP recipient that they were in the highest 25th percentile compared with their peers for antibiotics prescribed based on their total number of antibiotic prescriptions. The initiation letter provided a table on appropriate antibiotic initiation for common respiratory infections, with recommendations and tools adapted from Choosing Wisely Canada resources.31 The duration letter provided recommendations on appropriate antibiotic prescribing durations (eAppendix in Supplement 2). The control group did not receive a letter.
We designed the letters using an iterative process of stakeholder engagement. Family physicians from the executive committee of the Ontario Medical Association Section on General and Family Practice contributed to the letter text. The letters were cosigned by the chief of infection prevention and control at Public Health Ontario (G.G.) and the chair from the Ontario Medical Association Section on General and Family Practice. We engaged Ontario Health (Quality) and a convenience sample of practicing Ontario PCPs to help improve the wording of the letters.
The letters (eAppendix in Supplement 2) were mailed in early December 2018. A debrief letter was sent in December 2019 to all participants and included updated data. We telephoned a random sample of 135 PCPs between January 20 and February 4, 2020, to inquire if they recalled receiving the letter.
Unrestricted randomization was used to allocate PCPs to 1 of the 3 study arms by using a random number generator in SAS, version 9.4 (SAS Institute). Of the 3500 enrolled PCPs, 1500 were assigned to each intervention arm, and 500 were assigned to the control arm. An epidemiologist at Public Health Ontario conducted the allocation and was not otherwise involved in the study or analysis. Other study team members were blinded to the randomized arm assignments.
We used 3 prespecified outcomes. These outcomes were based on routinely collected administrative data and could not be influenced by the study team. The primary outcome was total antibiotic volume based on number of unique prescriptions. Baseline data were collected in the 12 months prior to the intervention in December 2018. The primary outcome was based on the 12 months after. We used a simple count of antibiotic prescriptions. We initially planned to use a rate of antibiotic prescriptions per total prescriptions, because patient visits were not available in the data set for a denominator, but after consultation with methodologists, we decided not to adjust for total prescriptions because this variable is a postrandomization outcome. The initial trial registration listed enrollment into Ontario Health (Quality) practice reports as the primary outcome. We subsequently changed the primary outcome to focus on antibiotic prescribing. These decisions were made after trial registration but before inspection of the results.
The secondary outcomes were number of prolonged-duration antibiotic prescriptions (defined as >7 days) and total antibiotic costs (drug acquisition costs only, not including pharmacist dispensing fees, in Canadian dollars). We defined more than 7 days as prolonged because most community-managed infections can be effectively treated with 7 or fewer days of antibiotics.32
Because the sample size was fixed by all available PCPs in the top quartile of Ontario, we calculated the detectable difference given the available sample size. Using analysis of covariance, sample sizes of 1500 in each of the 2 intervention arms vs 500 in the control arm achieves 84% power to detect a mean difference of 70 prescriptions in at least 1 of the 2 intervention arms vs control using an F test at a 2-sided significance level of P = .025, corrected for 2 comparisons. We assumed a standard deviation of 700 prescriptions (obtained from baseline data) and a correlation with the baseline mean prescriptions of 0.8.
Analysis was by intention to treat. The unit of analysis was the PCP. A post hoc modification of the protocol was used to exclude the outliers at the 99th percentile at baseline from each arm after identifying implausibly high numbers of antibiotic prescriptions attributed to a small number of PCPs in the data set. A similar approach was taken in a previous trial26 with the justification that these PCPs were likely to be systematically different than the study population and subject to measurement error. We used a modified robust Poisson regression approach to analyze the repeated outcome data. Robust SEs were estimated using an exchangeable correlation structure.33 The model included a fixed effect for time per quarter year, as well as an interaction term for time and intervention group. The baseline differences between arms were constrained to zero.34 The primary a priori comparisons of interest were between the average antibiotic prescriptions over 12 months in each letter arm vs control, controlling for prescriptions over the 12 pretrial months. Pairwise least-square mean differences were expressed as relative risks (RRs) with 97.5% CIs. Statistical significance was assessed at the Bonferroni-corrected level of 2-sided P = .025 to account for 2 comparisons of each intervention arm vs control. Planned secondary comparisons were between (1) the average pooled across the 2 letter arms vs control and (2) the initiation letter vs the duration letter. Secondary analysis of the primary outcome used quarterly intervals to examine learning and decay effects. Analyses were conducted in SAS, version 9.4 (SAS Institute).
We prespecified subgroup analyses derived from the Xponent database: baseline prescribing levels (very high [≥90th percentile] vs high [<90th percentile]), years from medical graduation (early career [<11 years], midcareer [11-24 years], or late career [≥25 years]), PCP gender, practice location, and patient sex and age groupings (female, <18 years old; male, <18 years old, female, 18-64 years old; male, 18-64 years old; female, ≥65 years old; and male, ≥65 years old). We included interactions between each subgroup variable and time and the 3-way interaction between the subgroup variable, time, and intervention group to test statistically significant differences between subgroups.
After excluding the 99th percentile outliers, there were 1484 PCPs who received the initiation letter, 1485 who received the duration letter, and 496 controls for analysis (Figure 1). All PCPs were included from baseline on December 1, 2017, and no PCPs were lost to follow-up at study completion of November 30, 2019. Of the random sample of 135 PCPs called to evaluate fidelity of receipt, 45 (33.3%) reported receiving the letter, 41 (30.3%) did not receive the letter, and 50 (37.0%) could not be reached after 2 attempts.
Groups were well balanced (Table 1). Quiz Ref IDOf the 3465 PCPs included in analysis, 2405 (69.4%) were male, and 2116 (61.1%) were 25 or more years from their medical graduation. The median (interquartile range) baseline prescribing volumes were 734 (561-1134) antibiotic prescriptions in the initiation letter arm, 741 (557-1133) in the duration letter arm, and 747 (556-1159) in the control arm. Just fewer than 20% of prescriptions were dispensed to children younger than 18 years and more than 20% to adults 65 years or older (Table 1). Physicians included in this study were more likely to be male and 25 or more years from their medical graduation compared with lower antibiotic–prescribing PCPs in Ontario (eTable 2 in Supplement 2). Figure 2A and B demonstrate the volume of total and prolonged antibiotic prescriptions prescribed by this cohort of PCPs from 1 year before to 1 year after the letters were mailed.
At baseline, PCPs receiving the initiation letter prescribed a mean (SD) of 988 (732) antibiotic prescriptions per year, and the control PCPs prescribed 988 (723). At 12 months postintervention, PCPs who received the initiation letter prescribed a mean (SD) of 849 (730) antibiotic prescriptions per year, and the control PCPs prescribed 881 (695) (eTable 3 in Supplement 2). During the 12 months postintervention, there was no statistically significant difference in total antibiotic use between PCPs who received the initiation letter compared with controls (RR, 0.96; 97.5% CI, 0.92-1.01; P = .06) (Table 2 and eTable 6 in Supplement 2). At baseline, PCPs receiving the duration letter prescribed a mean (SD) of 1000 (743) antibiotic prescriptions per year, and at 12 months postintervention, these PCPs prescribed 851 (711) antibiotic prescriptions per year. There was a small statistically significant difference in total antibiotic use between PCPs receiving the duration letter compared with controls (RR, 0.95; 97.5% CI, 0.91-1.00; P = .01). The difference between the initiation letter arm and duration letter arm for total antibiotic use was not statistically significant (RR, 0.99; 97.5% CI, 0.96-1.02; P = .42). The receipt of either letter resulted in a statistically significant 4.2% relative difference in total antibiotic use compared with controls (RR, 0.96; 97.5% CI, 0.92-1.00; P = .02).
At baseline, PCPs receiving the duration letter prescribed a mean (SD) of 332 (393) prolonged antibiotic prescriptions per year (eTable 4 in Supplement 2); the control PCPs prescribed 347 (430) prolonged-duration prescriptions. There was a statistically significant 8.1% relative difference in prolonged-duration prescriptions between the duration letter arm and controls (RR, 0.92; 97.5% CI, 0.87-0.97; P < .001). Receipt of the initiation letter had no statistically significant effect, but there was a statistically significant difference between the duration letter arm and initiation letter arm on prolonged-duration prescriptions (RR, 0.94; 97.5% CI, 0.90-0.98; P = .001) (Table 2). At baseline, the mean (SD) drug costs per PCP receiving the duration letter was $14 470 ($11 459) (eTable 5 in Supplement 2). Receipt of the duration letter significantly reduced drug costs by 6.1% (RR, 0.94; 97.5% CI, 0.89-0.99; P = .01) (Table 2). Compared with controls, receipt of the duration letter resulted in 42 fewer antibiotic prescriptions, 24 fewer prolonged-duration prescriptions, and $771 in drug cost savings on average per PCP over 12 months.
In the quarterly analysis, there was minimal change over all 4 quarters from receipt of either the initiation or duration letter on total antibiotic prescriptions (eFigures 1 and 2 in Supplement 2). There was a small decay effect in the duration letter arm (but not the initiation letter arm) on prolonged antibiotic prescriptions decreasing from a RR of 0.93 (95% CI, 0.86-1.01) at 0 to 3 months to an RR of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.85-1.09) at 9 to 12 months postintervention (eFigures 3 and 4 in Supplement 2).
In the planned subgroup analyses, the overall effect was consistent across major subgroups. A significant difference was observed for receipt of the duration letter compared with control, as PCPs 25 or more years from their medical graduation, compared with PCPs fewer than 11 years from their medical graduation, were statistically significantly more likely to prescribe fewer prolonged-duration prescriptions after receiving the letter (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.98-1.59; P = .006; Figure 3). Other subgroup comparisons are presented in eAppendix and eFigures 5 through 11 in Supplement 2.
If all 3500 of the highest-prescribing PCPs in Ontario received the duration letter, this would have resulted in a cumulative reduction at 12 months of 147 000 fewer antibiotic prescriptions (10 per 1000 population), 84 000 fewer antibiotic prescriptions of more than 7 days’ duration (6 per 1000 population), and a $2 700 000 reduction in drug costs ($193 per 1000 population).
Quiz Ref IDMailing a single letter to PCPs notifying them that they are among the highest quartile of antibiotic prescribers compared with their peers resulted in a 4.2% relative difference in overall ambulatory antibiotic prescribing and $1.7 million in drug cost savings.Quiz Ref ID A letter focusing on appropriate antibiotic durations resulted in a relative 8.1% fewer prolonged-duration prescriptions, in addition to 4.8% fewer total antibiotic prescriptions.
There has been an increasing number of trials evaluating audit and feedback in recent years; however, the field has not improved on past successes.35 Additional research is needed to elucidate which aspects of audit and feedback result in the most desirable outcomes. Hallsworth et al26 conducted a large-scale antibiotic peer-comparison trial in the United Kingdom notifying PCP practices that they were in the highest 20th percentile compared with their peers. This resulted in a 3.3% (95% CI, 2.3%-4.3%) relative reduction in antibiotic items dispensed per 1000 population. Meeker et al27 conducted a cluster RCT in the United States on 3 behavioral interventions and found that peer-comparison feedback on unnecessary prescribing resulted in an absolute reduction of 5.2% (95% CI, 1.6%-6.9%) and was the only intervention that had a sustained effect.36 Gulliford et al28 conducted a cluster RCT providing practice-level peer-comparison reports in the United Kingdom, which resulted in a relative reduction in antibiotic prescribing rates for respiratory tract infections of 12% (95% CI, 1%-22%) and did not result in patient harms from increased serious bacterial infections. A multiarm RCT conducted in Australia16 demonstrated an effect from a single mailed letter on total antibiotic use, as well as the effect of personalizing the feedback and including a central figure demonstrating the results, but this study was not peer reviewed. Hemkens et al37 sent physicians in Switzerland quarterly feedback metrics resulting in no statistically significant effect in antibiotic use. The explanation for the lack of success in this trial was likely in part because of the busy report that failed to direct the participants’ attention to the social normative aspect.38
One of the strengths of this study is that we provided feedback using unadjusted counts of total antibiotic prescriptions to the highest-prescribing PCPs. The use of total antibiotics may be more accessible and administratively simpler to implement. We demonstrated that a single mailed letter identifying PCPs as a high prescriber resulted in small but statistically significant changes in prescribing, which has implications for jurisdictions without access to visit denominator data or case-mix data for adjustment. Furthermore, we demonstrated a reduction in antibiotic prescriptions of more than 7 days’ duration by providing targeted education on appropriate antibiotic durations, further reducing likely unnecessary antibiotic exposure. The observed effect on duration was driven by those performing most poorly at baseline. We have previously demonstrated that later-career PCPs (≥25 years after medical graduation) more often prescribe prolonged-duration antibiotics.13 In the present trial, we demonstrated that these same PCPs were considerably more likely to change their behavior in response to feedback.
Behavior-change interventions that reduce unnecessary prescribing in patients are critical to antimicrobial stewardship efforts. However, this study highlights that focusing on education to target inappropriate antibiotic initiation may be less effective. Future interventions should address barriers that cause a gap between what prescribers know and what they do. Prescribers may need help better balancing emotionally salient factors driving unnecessary prescribing, such as perceived patient expectations, time constraints, habits, and fear of patients worsening, with less emotionally salient but potentially more clinically important factors, such as antimicrobial resistance and the risk of adverse drug reactions.39 An emotional response may be invoked through identifying PCPs as high prescribers compared with their peers, thereby nudging the PCP toward the more desirable behavior; additional approaches may include reframing the decision.40,41 Given the large sample in this trial and previous literature showing similar results, these findings are likely to be applicable to other high-income countries and settings for conducting peer-comparison audit and feedback in primary care.
This study has some limitations. First, we were unable to adjust for practice type or size, or population denominators, which can result in less acceptance of audit and feedback.42Quiz Ref ID Some PCPs who prescribe lower amounts of antibiotics per patient population compared with their peers may have been included as high prescribers based on patient volume; however, high and unnecessary prescribing are highly correlated.43 One of the strengths of this study is demonstrating the effect of simpler and readily available data, but it is possible that adjusted data could result in more substantial changes in prescribing. Second, as part of the posttrial evaluation, we could only determine that an estimated one-third of PCPs remembered receiving the letter. Receiving feedback more than once is likely more effective than a single mailing,15 and future studies should consider strategies to improve engagement and durability of the response to a single letter. Third, we were unable to assess the appropriateness of individual antibiotic prescriptions or patient outcomes, such as serious bacterial infection risk, adverse drug events, or antimicrobial resistance. We defined prolonged antibiotic duration as more than 7 days because most outpatient-treated infections should be treated with 7 or fewer days of antibiotics; however, there are some instances where longer durations are warranted. Fourth, the effect size was modest but likely effective on a population level. Additional strategies aimed to optimize antibiotic use in primary care are needed in conjunction with audit and feedback. Fifth, the IQVIA data involves an extrapolation algorithm that we have previously validated but may effect some PCPs differentially.30 Sixth, we quantified the effect of the intervention on drug costs but did not have data on other costs, such as pharmacy dispensing fees and downstream effects of antibiotic overuse. Finally, we adjusted the statistical significance using a Bonferroni correction; however, the statistical significance of the secondary outcomes and strata should be interpreted cautiously.
In this RCT, peer-comparison antibiotic audit and feedback to PCPs that identify them as high prescribers is modestly effective at reducing antibiotic use. More marked reduction in inappropriate antibiotic prescribing will require additional strategies. We demonstrated that a single peer-comparison letter on antibiotic prescribing can reduce drug costs and was successfully implemented across an entire health care system. The addition of a resource on appropriate antibiotic durations resulted in substantial reductions in prolonged-duration prescriptions in addition to reduced overall antibiotic use.
Accepted for Publication: April 27, 2021.
Published Online: July 6, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.2790
Corresponding Author: Kevin L. Schwartz, MD, Public Health Ontario, 480 University Ave, Ste 300, Toronto, ON M5G 1V2, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Mr Neish had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: Schwartz, Ivers, Langford, Taljaard, Daneman, Alloo, Silverman, Grimshaw, Wu, Garber.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Schwartz, Ivers, Langford, Taljaard, Neish, Brown, Leung, Daneman, Alloo, Shing, Grimshaw, Leis.
Drafting of the manuscript: Schwartz, Neish, Silverman.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Ivers, Langford, Taljaard, Brown, Leung, Daneman, Alloo, Silverman, Shing, Grimshaw, Leis, Wu, Garber.
Statistical analysis: Taljaard, Neish, Brown, Shing.
Obtained funding: Schwartz.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Schwartz, Langford, Leung, Leis, Wu, Garber.
Supervision: Taljaard, Silverman, Garber.
Other—partnership development and implementation support: Alloo.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Ivers reported support from a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Implementation of Evidence-Based Practice and a Clinician Scholar award from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, as well as grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance outside the submitted work. Dr Alloo reported grants from the University of Toronto and personal fees from Novo Nordisk, Roche, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Memotext, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Trillium Health Partners, Ontario College of Family Physicians, and the Section on General and Family Practice at Ontario Medical Association outside the submitted work. Dr Leis reported personal fees from Choosing Wisely Canada during the conduct of the study. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: This study was funded by Public Health Ontario and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Innovative Clinical Trials grant (application No. 398514).
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Disclaimer: The lead author, Dr Schwartz, affirms that this article is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported. No important aspects have been omitted, and any discrepancies from the original protocol have been explained.
Data Sharing Statement: See Supplement 3.
Additional Contributions: We thank our lived-experience patient partners Emily Angl, BMSc, and Barbara Sklar, RN, BAEd/ADED, for their contributions to this study. Ms Angl received compensation through the study funding for her time consulting on this article.