Unwarranted use of antibiotics for pediatric acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) and use of second-line, broad spectrum antibiotics for bacterial ARTIs has contributed to the rapid development of resistance in many strains of bacteria. Provider-parent communication during pediatric visits for ARTIs strongly influences antibiotic prescribing rates. The overall goal of this study is to develop and test a distance learning quality improvement (QI) program called Dialogue Around respiratory Illness Treatment - DART. The DART program will aim to improve provider communication practices and treatment decisions during pediatric ARTI visits, with the ultimate goal being to decrease rates of antibiotic prescribing for these illnesses in children.
The specific aims of the study are:1) t test the DART program's effectiveness on a) overall antibiotic prescribing rates for all pediatric ARTIs and b) first-line antibiotic prescribing rates for bacterial ARTIs (acute otitis media, Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis, and sinusitis), 2) to test the DART program's effectiveness in changing providers' communication practices during ARTI visits, 3) to determine visit-specific satisfaction levels for parents of children seen by study providers and assess how satisfaction changes as a function of exposure to the DART program, and 4) to assess the cost of implementing the DART program and its impact on health care expenditures. To accomplish these aims, we propose a quasi-experimental study utilizing a stepped wedge design. In collaboration with two practice-based research networks: the electronic Pediatric Research in Office Settings (ePROS) network and the NorthShore Pediatric network, we will recruit 25 practices to participate. Over an 8 month period, the intervention will be sequentially deployed to five study groups (five practices/group). Each practice will function as part of the control group until they receive the intervention. The DART program's effectiveness will be assessed by examining provider antibiotic prescribing rates for ARTIs (both overall and first-line), communication practices, and parent satisfaction both pre- and post-intervention exposure using survey and electronic health record data. If the DART program is effective for both reducing ARTI antibiotic prescribing to levels consistent with bacterial prevalence rates and increasing use of first-line antibiotics for bacterial ARTIs, we will have an innovative, highly disseminable QI intervention program to further address this critical public health problem.
The excessive use of outpatient antibiotics has contributed to the rapid development of resistance in many strains of bacteria. In prior intervention studies, decreasing rates of antibiotic prescribing at the community level has decreased antibiotic resistance. If this intervention is effective in decreasing antibiotic prescribing rates for acute respiratory tract illnesses in children and these improvements are shown to be sustained, this study will result in an efficient, feasible, and disseminable quality improvement program to further address this critically important public health problem in the United States.