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Prescribing and testing by primary care providers to assess adherence to the Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations: a retrospective cohort study



Prescribing and testing by primary care providers to assess adherence to the Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations: a retrospective cohort study



Cmaj Open 6(4): E603-E610



Choosing Wisely Canada is an initiative to reduce overprescribing and overtesting. This study assessed adherence to 4 Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations for interventions commonly performed in primary care: (a) antibiotic prescriptions for infections that are probably viral in origin, (b) routine vitamin D tests in low-risk adults, (c) annual screening blood tests and (d) prescriptions of antipsychotic medication to treat symptoms of dementia. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of data from the electronic medical records of patients who had an encounter between 2014 and 2016 with a participating Manitoba Primary Care Research Network primary care provider in Manitoba, Canada. Patient encounter data were reviewed for prescribing and testing practices. Descriptive statistics and multivariable models assessed associations between patient and provider characteristics and rates of prescribing and testing. Data for 164 195 patients from 230 providers were included in the study. Sixteen percent (n = 25 629) of patients had an encounter that involved potentially unnecessary diagnostic testing and treatment. A minority of providers contributed to above-average rates of prescribing and testing: 29% (n = 69) of providers prescribed antibiotics for a viral indication,11% (n = 24) prescribed an antipsychotic to a patient diagnosed with dementia, 9% (n = 24) ordered prostate-specific antigen tests and 14% (n = 34) ordered vitamin D tests at above-average rates, respectively. Patient and provider characteristics were associated with each of the prescribing and testing practices assessed. This study demonstrated that fewer than 30% of primary care providers contributed to interventions in direct contradiction to Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations. Improvement strategies specific to each prescription or testing recommendation should target specific providers to prevent patient harm and reduce unnecessary health care spending.

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Accession: 065990290

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30530720

DOI: 10.9778/cmajo.20180053


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