Reducing antibiotic prescribing for children presenting to primary care with acute respiratory tract infection

Blair, P.S. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e014506


Objective: To investigate recruitment and retention, data collection methods and the acceptability of a ‘within-consultation’ complex intervention designed to reduce antibiotic prescribing.

Conclusion: Differential recruitment may explain the paradoxical antibiotic prescribing rates. Future cluster level studies should consider designs which remove the need for individual consent postrandomisation and embed the intervention within electronic primary care records.

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Managing common infections: guidance for primary care

Public Health England has updated Managing common infections: guidance for consultation and local adaptation.

This guidance is to help GPs and heath care staff treat infections and use antibiotics responsibly.  This update includes significant changes to the urinary tract infection section, associated references and rationale.

Practice Transformation Program Increases Adult Influenza Vaccination

Infection Control Today | Published online: 3 November 2016


An evidence-based, step-by-step guide, the 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program, was the foundation of an intervention to increase adult immunizations in primary care and was tested in a randomized controlled cluster trial. The purpose of this study by Lin, et al. (2016) was to report changes in influenza immunization rates and on factors related to receipt of influenza vaccine.

Twenty-five primary care practices were recruited in 2013, stratified by city (Houston, Pittsburgh), location (rural, urban, suburban) and type (family medicine, internal medicine), and randomized to the intervention (n = 13) or control (n = 12) in Year 1 (2013-14). A follow-up intervention occurred in Year 2 (2014-15). Demographic and vaccination data were derived from de-identified electronic medical record extractions.

A cohort of 70,549 adults seen in their respective practices (n = 24 with 1 drop out) at least once each year was followed. Baseline mean age was 55.1 years, 35 % were men, 21 % were non-white and 35 % were Hispanic. After one year, both intervention and control arms significantly (P < 0.001) increased influenza vaccination, with average increases of 2.7 to 6.5 percentage points. In regression analyses, likelihood of influenza vaccination was significantly higher in sites with lower percentages of patients with missed opportunities (P < 0.001) and, after adjusting for missed opportunities, the intervention further improved vaccination rates in Houston (lower baseline rates) but not Pittsburgh (higher baseline rates). In the follow-up intervention, the likelihood of vaccination increased for both intervention sites and those that reduced missed opportunities (P < 0.005).

The researchers say that reducing missed opportunities across the practice increases likelihood of influenza vaccination of adults. The 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program provides strategies for reducing missed opportunities to vaccinate adults.

Read the full overview here

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A mixed methods study to understand patient expectations for antibiotics for an upper respiratory tract infection

Gaarslev, C. et al. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Published online: 20 October 2016


Background: Antimicrobial resistance is a public health challenge supplemented by inappropriate prescribing, especially for an upper respiratory tract infection in primary care. Patient/carer expectations have been identified as one of the main drivers for inappropriate antibiotics prescribing by primary care physicians. The aim of this study was to understand who is more likely to expect an antibiotic for an upper respiratory tract infection from their doctor and the reasons underlying it.

Methods: This study used a sequential mixed methods approach: a nationally representative cross sectional survey (n = 1509) and four focus groups. The outcome of interest was expectation and demand for an antibiotic from a doctor when presenting with a cold or flu.

Results: The study found 19.5 % of survey respondents reported that they would expect the doctor to prescribe antibiotics for a cold or flu. People younger than 65 years of age, those who never attended university and those speaking a language other than English at home were more likely to expect or demand antibiotics for a cold or flu. People who knew that ‘antibiotics don’t kill viruses’ and agreed that ‘taking an antibiotic when one is not needed means they won’t work in the future’ were less likely to expect or demand antibiotics. The main reasons for expecting antibiotics were believing that antibiotics are an effective treatment for a cold or flu and that they shortened the duration and potential deterioration of their illness. The secondary reason centered around the value or return on investment for visiting a doctor when feeling unwell.

Conclusion: Our study found that patients do not appear to feel they have a sufficiently strong incentive to consider the impact of their immediate use of antibiotics on antimicrobial resistance. The issue of antibiotic resistance needs to be explained and reframed as a more immediate health issue with dire consequences to ensure the success of future health campaigns.

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A Comprehensive Review of Common Respiratory Infections Encountered in Urgent and Primary Care

Beam, C. et al. Journal of Emergency Nursing. Published online: 21 July 2016

Concern about antibiotic overuse has become heightened as bacterial resistance to antibiotics continues to increase. Patients experiencing respiratory symptoms frequently present to urgent/emergent care settings such as fast-track emergency care departments and primary care retail settings with the expectation that they will be prescribed antibiotics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 2 million people will become ill with bacteria that are resistant to at least one antibiotic, approximately 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections, and many others die as a result of complications related to antibiotic-resistant infections.
Read the abstract here

An internet-delivered handwashing intervention to modify influenza-like illness and respiratory infection transmission (PRIMIT): a primary care randomised trial

The Lancet: Volume 386, No. 10004, p1631–1639, 24 October 2015

hand washing

Handwashing to prevent transmission of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) has been widely advocated, especially during the H1N1 pandemic. However, the role of handwashing is debated, and no good randomised evidence exists among adults in non-deprived settings. We aimed to assess whether an internet-delivered intervention to modify handwashing would reduce the number of RTIs among adults and their household members.

We recruited individuals sharing a household by mailed invitation through general practices in England. After consent, participants were randomised online by an automated computer-generated random number programme to receive either no access or access to a bespoke automated web-based intervention that maximised handwashing intention, monitored handwashing behaviour, provided tailored feedback, reinforced helpful attitudes and norms, and addressed negative beliefs. We enrolled participants into an additional cohort (randomised to receive intervention or no intervention) to assess whether the baseline questionnaire on handwashing would affect handwashing behaviour. Participants were not masked to intervention allocation, but statistical analysis commands were constructed masked to group. The primary outcome was number of episodes of RTIs in index participants in a modified intention-to-treat population of randomly assigned participants who completed follow-up at 16 weeks. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN75058295.

Across three winters between Jan 17, 2011, and March 31, 2013, we enrolled 20 066 participants and randomly assigned them to receive intervention (n=10 040) or no intervention (n=10 026). 16 908 (84%) participants were followed up with the 16 week questionnaire (8241 index participants in intervention group and 8667 in control group). After 16 weeks, 4242 individuals (51%) in the intervention group reported one or more episodes of RTI compared with 5135 (59%) in the control group (multivariate risk ratio 0·86, 95% CI 0·83–0·89; p<0·0001). The intervention reduced transmission of RTIs (reported within 1 week of another household member) both to and from the index person. We noted a slight increase in minor self-reported skin irritation (231 [4%] of 5429 in intervention group vs 79 [1%] of 6087 in control group) and no reported serious adverse events.

In non-pandemic years, an effective internet intervention designed to increase handwashing could have an important effect in reduction of infection transmission. In view of the heightened concern during a pandemic and the likely role of the internet in access to advice, the intervention also has potential for effective implementation during a pandemic.

via An internet-delivered handwashing intervention to modify influenza-like illness and respiratory infection transmission (PRIMIT): a primary care randomised trial – The Lancet.