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Journal Article > Study
Medicare letters to curb overprescribing of controlled substances had no detectable effect on providers.
Sacarny A, Yokum D, Finkelstein A, Agrawal S. Health Aff (Millwood). 2016;35:471-479.
Overprescribing of opioids is a serious and worsening problem. In the United States, deaths from opioid overdoses have more than quadrupled over the past decade. Providing peer comparisons has been shown to reduce other instances of medical care overuse, such as inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions. In this study, health care providers who very frequently prescribed Schedule II controlled substances (the highest risk category for which a prescription is still legal) were randomized to receive a letter showing their prescription practices compared to their peers. There was no evidence that the letters had any impact on prescribing behaviors. The authors describe ongoing efforts to redesign the letters with the hope to enhance their influence on physicians. A past WebM&M commentary discussed best practices for opioid prescribing.
Journal Article > Commentary
Liu J, Kaye KS, Mercuro NJ, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019;40:206-207.
Never events are devastating to patients and indicate serious underlying organizational safety problems. This commentary suggests that there are types of inappropriate antibiotic use behaviors that should be categorized as never events, such as use of an antibiotic longer than is required. The authors believe that labeling these incidents as never events will drive development and application of prevention strategies.