Effect of mailed feedback on drug prescribing profiles in general practice: a seven-year longitudinal study in Storstrøm County, Denmark

  • KELD VÆGTER Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Uppsala, Sweden; Unit of Continuous Medical Education in General Practice (FUAP), Health Department, Storstrøm County, Nykøbing F, Denmark; and Centre for Development and Research in Primary Care in Sörmland, Eskilstuna, Sweden
  • ROLF WAHLSTRÖM Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Uppsala, Sweden; Unit of Continuous Medical Education in General Practice (FUAP), Health Department, Storstrøm County, Nykøbing F, Denmark; and Division of Global Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • HANS WEDEL Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • KURT SVÄRDSUDD Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Uppsala, Sweden
Keywords: Drug prescribing, general practice, mailed feedback

Abstract

Background. Whether written feedback on drug prescribing in general practice affects prescribing habits is controversial. Most short-term studies showed no effect. However, the issue has not been tested in long-term studies involving the local general practitioner community.

Aims of the study. To assess whether prescribing levels in general practice are affected by long-term, unsolicited, systematically repeated, mailed feedback.

Methods. Each of the 94 general practices in Storstrøm County, Denmark, received semi-annual, mailed feedback about their prescribing volumes and costs within 13 major drug groups, in relation to the levels for all the other 93 practices over a 7-year period in a project initiated by the local general practitioner association. Data on the number of defined daily doses (DDDs) prescribed per 1000 listed patients in each practice per 6-months, and practice characteristics, were obtained from the Pharmaceutical Database at the County Health Department.

Results. There was a large variation in drug prescribing volume between practices, but little within-practice variation over time. After adjustments for the influence of practice size and other potential outcome-affecting variables, there was no evidence of a general change of prescribing volume over time, no change among practices with a high or a low prescribing level, and no significant change within the various drug groups.

Conclusions. We found no significant effects on prescribing levels of mailed feedback, even when repeated semi-annually during 7 years and initiated by the local general practitioner community.

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Published
2010-10-07
How to Cite
VÆGTERK., WAHLSTRÖMR., WEDELH., & SVÄRDSUDDK. (2010). Effect of mailed feedback on drug prescribing profiles in general practice: a seven-year longitudinal study in Storstrøm County, Denmark. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 115(4), 238–244. https://doi.org/10.3109/03009734.2010.487165
Section
Original Articles