Objective: To examine whether the Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Quality Dashboard, an electronic health record (EHR)-based feedback system, changed antibiotic prescribing.
Study design: Cluster randomized, controlled trial.
Methods: We randomly assigned 27 primary care practices to receive the ARI Quality Dashboard or usual care. The primary outcome was the intent-to-intervene antibiotic prescribing rate for ARI visits. We also compared antibiotic prescribing between ARI Quality Dashboard users and nonusers.
Results: During the 9-month intervention, there was no difference between intervention and control practices in antibiotic prescribing for all ARI visits (47% vs 47%; P = .87), antibiotic-appropriate ARI visits (65% vs 64%; P = .68), or non–antibiotic-appropriate ARI visits (38% vs 40%; P = .70). Among the 258 intervention clinicians, 72 (28%) used the ARI Quality Dashboard at least once. These clinicians had a lower overall ARI antibiotic prescribing rate (42% vs 50% for nonusers; P = .02). This difference was due to less antibiotic prescribing for non-antibiotic-appropriate ARIs (32% vs 43%; P = .004), including nonstreptococcal pharyngitis (31% vs 41%; P = .01) and nonspecific upper respiratory infections (19% vs 34%; P = .01).
Conclusions: The ARI Quality Dashboard was not associated with an overall change in antibiotic prescribing for ARIs, although when used, it was associated with improved antibiotic prescribing. EHR-based quality reporting, as part of "meaningful use," may not improve care in the absence of other changes to primary care practice.