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Publication Date

7-30-2018

Keywords

sinusitis, electronic health records, decision support, antibiotic prescribing, best practice alert

Abstract

Purpose: Acute sinusitis has viral etiology in more than 90% of cases, but antibiotics are prescribed for more than 80% of adults in the United States. While applications of computer-assisted guidelines have been found effective in reducing inaccurate prescribing for acute respiratory infections, there is a paucity of research focused specifically on the utilization of electronic best practice alerts (BPA) in improving treatment for acute sinusitis.

Methods: This observational cohort study examined prescribing behavior for sinusitis at a single Federally Qualified Health Center 1 year prior and during the first year of implementation of a BPA in the electronic health record (EHR) reminding providers of the recommended treatment of sinusitis. The advisory included a link to national guidelines and a note template was installed to assist providers in documentation. The BPA appeared on the providers’ screen when an ICD-9 code of acute or bacterial sinusitis was entered during the patient visit.

Results: After adjusting for select patient and provider factors, the computer-assisted guidelines effectively reduced the overall antibiotic prescribing among these patients by 31% (relative risk: 0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.51–0.95) and reduced incorrect prescribing from 88.5% to 78.7% (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Clinical reminders within the EHR can be an effective tool to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and improve providers’ decisions regarding the correct antibiotic choices for patients with acute sinusitis.

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