BACKGROUND: Although self-limiting viral infections are predominant, children with acute infections are often prescribed antibiotics by family physicians. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of two interventions, namely C-reactive protein point-of-care testing and educational training, on antibiotic prescribing by family physicians.
METHODS: This randomised controlled intervention study included acutely ill children consulted by 80 family physicians from urban and rural practices in Latvia. The family physicians were divided into two groups of 40. The family physicians in the intervention group received both interventions, i.e. C-reactive protein point-of-care testing and educational training, whereas the family physicians in the control group continued to dispense their standard care. The primary outcome measure was the antibiotic prescribing at the index consultation (delayed or immediate prescription) in both study groups. The secondary outcome was CRP testing per study group. Patient- and family physician- related predictors of antibiotic prescribing were analysed as associated independent variables. Practice location effect on the outcomes was specially addressed, similar to other scientific literature.
RESULTS: In total, 2039 children with acute infections were enrolled in the study. The most common infections observed were upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Overall, 29.8% (n = 607) of the study population received antibiotic prescription. Our binary logistic regression analysis did not find a statistically significant association between antibiotic prescriptions and the implemented interventions. In the control group of family physicians, a rural location was associated with more frequent antibiotic prescribing and minimal use of CRP testing of venous blood samples. However, in the intervention group of family physicians, a rural location was associated with a higher level of C-reactive protein point-of-care testing. Furthermore, in rural areas, a significant reduction in antibiotic prescribing was observed in the intervention group compared with the control group (29.0% (n = 118) and 37.8% (n = 128), respectively, p = 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Our results show that the availabilty of C-reactive protein point-of-care testing and educational training for family physicians did not reduce antibiotic prescribing. Nevertheless, our data indicate that regional variations in antibiotic-prescribing habits exist and the implemented interventions had an effect on family physicians practices in rural areas.
- Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
- C-Reactive Protein/analysis
- Physicians, Family
- Point-of-Care Testing
- Practice Patterns, Physicians'
Field of Science*
- 3.2 Clinical medicine
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database