Am J Manag Care 10:761-768.
Department of Medicine and Center for Healthcare Improvement, Medical College of Georgia, Atlanta, Ga, USA
BACKGROUND: Despite progress in describing the problem of potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, there have been few prospective studies demonstrating that interventions with specific medication criteria can make a difference in decreasing the use of problematic drugs in older adults.
OBJECTIVE: To design an intervention study to change physician behavior regarding PIM prescribing to older patients.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A prospective randomized block design was used during an 18-month period from January 2001 to June 2002. The study population was primary care physicians (n = 355) in the Medicare + Choice product line of a southeastern managed care organization and their patients 65 years and older. There were 170 physicians in the treatment group and 185 in the control group. Physicians were assigned to the treatment or usual-care, groups using a randomization table, and each group included physicians who had and had not prescribed a PIM.
RESULTS: Approximately 71% (84/118) of the physicians in the intervention group who prescribed a PIM completed and faxed back at least 1 potentially inappropriate medication form to the managed care organization. On 15.4% (260/1692) of the medication forms, physicians made some change regarding PIM use.
CONCLUSIONS: Although many studies have addressed medication use among older adults, intervention studies aimed at influencing physician prescribing in this population are limited. This study describes a low-cost, replicable method to contact and educate physicians on drug therapy issues in older adults.
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