Background: There are often disparities between current evidence and current practice. Decreasing the gap between desired practice outcomes and observed practice outcomes in the healthcare system is not always easy. Stopping previously recommended or variably recommended interventions may be even harder to achieve than increasing the use of a desired but under-performed activity. For over a decade, aspirin has been prescribed for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and for patients with the coronary artery disease risk equivalents; yet, there is no substantial evidence of an appropriate risk-benefit ratio to support this practice. This paper describes the protocol of a randomized trial being conducted in six primary care practices in the Denver metropolitan area to examine the effectiveness of three interventional strategies to change physician behavior regarding prescription of low-dose aspirin.
Methods: All practices received academic detailing, one arm received clinician reminders to reconsider aspirin, a second arm received both clinician and patient messages to reconsider aspirin. The intervention will run for 15 to 18 months. Data collected at baseline and for outcomes from an electronic health record will be used to assess pre- and post-interventional prescribing, as well as to explore any inappropriate decrease in aspirin use by patients with known cardiovascular disease.
Discussion: This study was designed to investigate effective methods of changing physician behavior to decrease the use of aspirin for primary cardiovascular disease prevention. The results of this study will contribute to the small pool of knowledge currently available on the topic of ceasing previously supported practices.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01247454.