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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Clinician-targeted interventions to influence antibiotic prescribing behaviour for acute respiratory infections in primary care: an overview of systematic reviews

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (79th percentile)

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1 news outlet
1 blog
2 policy sources
32 tweeters
4 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
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415 Mendeley
Clinician-targeted interventions to influence antibiotic prescribing behaviour for acute respiratory infections in primary care: an overview of systematic reviews
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012252.pub2
Pubmed ID

Sarah KG Tonkin-Crine, Pui San Tan, Oliver van Hecke, Kay Wang, Nia W Roberts, Amanda McCullough, Malene Plejdrup Hansen, Christopher C Butler, Chris B Del Mar


Antibiotic resistance is a worldwide health threat. Interventions that reduce antibiotic prescribing by clinicians are expected to reduce antibiotic resistance. Disparate interventions to change antibiotic prescribing behaviour for acute respiratory infections (ARIs) have been trialled and meta-analysed, but not yet synthesised in an overview. This overview synthesises evidence from systematic reviews, rather than individual trials. To systematically review the existing evidence from systematic reviews on the effects of interventions aimed at influencing clinician antibiotic prescribing behaviour for ARIs in primary care. We searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Science Citation Index to June 2016. We also searched the reference lists of all included reviews. We ran a pre-publication search in May 2017 and placed additional studies in 'awaiting classification'.We included both Cochrane and non-Cochrane reviews of randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of any clinician-focussed intervention on antibiotic prescribing behaviour in primary care. Two overview authors independently extracted data and assessed the methodological quality of included reviews using the ROBIS tool, with disagreements reached by consensus or by discussion with a third overview author. We used the GRADE system to assess the quality of evidence in included reviews. The results are presented as a narrative overview. We included eight reviews in this overview: five Cochrane Reviews (33 included trials) and three non-Cochrane reviews (11 included trials). Three reviews (all Cochrane Reviews) scored low risk across all the ROBIS domains in Phase 2 and low risk of bias overall. The remaining five reviews scored high risk on Domain 4 of Phase 2 because the 'Risk of bias' assessment had not been specifically considered and discussed in the review Results and Conclusions. The trials included in the reviews varied in both size and risk of bias. Interventions were compared to usual care.Moderate-quality evidence indicated that C-reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (risk ratio (RR) 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 0.92, 3284 participants, 6 trials), shared decision making (odds ratio (OR) 0.44, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.75, 3274 participants, 3 trials; RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.84, 4623 participants, 2 trials; risk difference -18.44, 95% CI -27.24 to -9.65, 481,807 participants, 4 trials), and procalcitonin-guided management (adjusted OR 0.10, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.14, 1008 participants, 2 trials) probably reduce antibiotic prescribing in general practice. We found moderate-quality evidence that procalcitonin-guided management probably reduces antibiotic prescribing in emergency departments (adjusted OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.43, 2605 participants, 7 trials). The overall effect of these interventions was small (few achieving greater than 50% reduction in antibiotic prescribing, most about a quarter or less), but likely to be clinically important.Compared to usual care, shared decision making probably makes little or no difference to reconsultation for the same illness (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.03, 1860 participants, 4 trials, moderate-quality evidence), and may make little or no difference to patient satisfaction (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.30, 1110 participants, 2 trials, low-quality evidence). Similarly, CRP testing probably has little or no effect on patient satisfaction (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.08, 689 participants, 2 trials, moderate-quality evidence) or reconsultation (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.27, 5132 participants, 4 trials, moderate-quality evidence). Procalcitonin-guided management probably results in little or no difference in treatment failure in general practice compared to normal care (adjusted OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.24, 1008 participants, 2 trials, moderate-quality evidence), however it probably reduces treatment failure in the emergency department compared to usual care (adjusted OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.95, 2605 participants, 7 trials, moderate-quality evidence).The quality of evidence for interventions focused on clinician educational materials and decision support in reducing antibiotic prescribing in general practice was either low or very low (no pooled result reported) and trial results were highly heterogeneous, therefore we were unable draw conclusions about the effects of these interventions. The use of rapid viral diagnostics in emergency departments may have little or no effect on antibiotic prescribing (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.22, 891 participants, 3 trials, low-quality evidence) and may result in little to no difference in reconsultation (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.59 to 1.25, 200 participants, 1 trial, low-quality evidence).None of the trials in the included reviews reported on management costs for the treatment of an ARI or any associated complications. We found evidence that CRP testing, shared decision making, and procalcitonin-guided management reduce antibiotic prescribing for patients with ARIs in primary care. These interventions may therefore reduce overall antibiotic consumption and consequently antibiotic resistance. There do not appear to be negative effects of these interventions on the outcomes of patient satisfaction and reconsultation, although there was limited measurement of these outcomes in the trials. This should be rectified in future trials.We could gather no information about the costs of management, and this along with the paucity of measurements meant that it was difficult to weigh the benefits and costs of implementing these interventions in practice.Most of this research was undertaken in high-income countries, and it may not generalise to other settings. The quality of evidence for the interventions of educational materials and tools for patients and clinicians was either low or very low, which prevented us from drawing any conclusions. High-quality trials are needed to further investigate these interventions.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 32 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 415 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 415 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 74 18%
Researcher 48 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 45 11%
Student > Bachelor 43 10%
Other 21 5%
Other 71 17%
Unknown 113 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 142 34%
Nursing and Health Professions 37 9%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 20 5%
Social Sciences 13 3%
Computer Science 10 2%
Other 53 13%
Unknown 140 34%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 43. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 February 2022.
All research outputs
of 23,915,168 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,805 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 318,510 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 268 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 23,915,168 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,805 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 33.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 318,510 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 268 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its contemporaries.