Shifting physician prescribing to a preferred histamine-2-receptor antagonist. Effects of a multifactorial intervention in a mixed-model health maintenance organization.
Brufsky JW. Ross-Degnan D. Calabrese D. Gao X. Soumerai SB.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, MA, USA.
OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to determine whether a program of education, therapeutic reevaluation of eligible patients, and performance feedback could shift prescribing to cimetidine from other histamine-2 receptor antagonists, which commonly are used in the management of ulcers and reflux, and reduce costs without increasing rates of ulcer-related hospital admissions. METHODS: This study used an interrupted monthly time series with comparison series in a large mixed-model health maintenance organization. Physicians employed in health centers (staff model) and physicians in independent medical groups contracting to provide health maintenance organization services (group model) participated. The comparative percentage prescribed of specific histamine-2 receptor antagonists (market share), total histamine-2 receptor antagonist prescribing, cost per histamine-2 receptor antagonist prescription, and the rate of hospitalization for gastrointestinal illness were assessed. RESULTS: In the staff model, therapeutic reevaluation resulted in a sudden increase in market share of the preferred histamine-2 receptor antagonist cimetidine (+53.8%) and a sudden decrease in ranitidine (-44.7%) and famotidine (-4.8%); subsequently, cimetidine market share grew by 1.1% per month. In the group model, therapeutic reevaluation resulted in increased cimetidine market share (+9.7%) and decreased prescribing of other histamine-2 receptor antagonists (ranitidine -11.6%; famotidine -1.2%). Performance feedback did not result in further changes in prescribing in either setting. Use of omeprazole, an expensive alternative, essentially was unchanged by the interventions, as were overall histamine-2 receptor antagonist prescribing and hospital admissions for gastrointestinal illnesses. This intervention, which cost approximately $60,000 to implement, resulted in estimated annual savings in histamine-2 receptor antagonist expenditures of $1.06 million. CONCLUSIONS: Annual savings in histamine-2 receptor antagonist expenditures after this multifaceted intervention were more than implementation costs, with no discernible effects on numbers of hospitalizations. The magnitude of effect and cost savings were much greater in the staff model; organizational factors and economic incentives may have contributed to these differences. More research is needed to determine the generalizability of this approach to other technologies and managed care settings.
The effectiveness of early endoscopy for upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage: a community-based analysis.
Cooper GS. Chak A. Connors AF Jr. Harper DL. Rosenthal GE.
Department of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, OH 44106, USA.
OBJECTIVES: The effectiveness of upper endoscopy in unselected patients with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage has not been well studied. This study was undertaken to identify factors associated with the performance of early endoscopy (ie, within 1 day of hospitalization) and, after adjusting for these factors, to determine associations between early endoscopy and in-hospital mortality, length of stay, and performance of surgery. METHODS: Subjects in this observational cohort study were 3,801 consecutive admissions with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage to 30 hospitals in a large metropolitan region. Demographic and clinical data were abstracted from hospital records. A multivariable model based on factors that potentially could relate to the decision to perform endoscopy was developed to determine the propensity (0 to 100%) for early endoscopy in each patient. RESULTS: Early endoscopy was performed in 2,240 patients (59%), and although it was not associated with mortality after adjusting for severity of illness among all patients, it was associated with a higher risk of death for patients in the lowest propensity group. Early endoscopy was associated with a lower likelihood of upper gastrointestinal surgery in all patients and in the two highest propensity groups and with a shorter length of stay in the entire cohort and in all subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: In the absence of specific contraindications, early endoscopy should be considered because of associated reductions in length of stay and surgical intervention. Further studies are needed to identify subgroups in whom the procedure may be associated with adverse effects on survival.
Influence of the NIH Consensus Conference on Helicobacter pylori on physician prescribing among a Medicaid population.
Thamer M. Ray NF. Henderson SC. Rinehart CS. Sherman CR. Ferguson JH.
Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute, Washington, DC 20007, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
OBJECTIVES: In February 1994, an National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Conference panel unequivocally recommended antimicrobial therapy to eradicate Helicobacter pylori in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. The goal of this study was to determine if these recommendations resulted in a change in physician prescribing among an underserved population. METHODS: Computerized Pennsylvania Medicaid data from January 1993 through February 1996 were used to evaluate prescribing patterns in the year before and 2 years after the NIH conference. An interrupted time series model, based on 12,737 outpatient peptic ulcer disease encounters, assessed the impact of the conference in influencing physician prescribing. RESULTS: The prescription of antimicrobial agents for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease significantly increased across the study period, from 6.5% in January 1993 to 10.2% in February 1996. Similarly, the prescription rate for the proton pump inhibitor, omeprazole, significantly increased from 9.4% in January 1993 to 25.6% in February 1996. Neither trend, however, could be attributed to the NIH Consensus Development Conference. Stratification by physician specialty, ulcer type, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use, and patient demographics did not affect these results. The traditional treatment approach, using H2-receptor antagonists, remained the preferred pharmacotherapy (72% of all prescriptions). CONCLUSIONS: Two years after the highly publicized NIH conference on the eradication of Helicobacter pylori, antimicrobial agents were not widely prescribed among the Pennsylvania Medicaid population. In treating this underserved population, physicians do not appear to be using recommendations developed by an NIH expert panel based on recent scientific advances.