Improving the quality of antibiotic prescription patterns in general practice. The role of educational intervention

Med J Aust. 1994 Apr 18;160(8):502-5.


Objective: To assess the quality of antibiotic prescribing by Victorian general practitioners, and the effectiveness of educational intervention techniques in improving prescribing.

Design: A randomised, controlled, parallel group trial.

Setting and participants: In rural and metropolitan Victoria, 182 general practitioners (78 control, 104 intervention) began and 103 (41 control, 62 intervention) completed the study.

Intervention: Participants recorded their antibiotic prescribing for tonsillitis. The intervention group received an educational mailing campaign. A project pharmacist visited each doctor to discuss campaign messages.

Main outcome measure: The percentages of prescriptions of antibiotics for tonsillitis complying with those recommended in Antibiotic guidelines.

Results: In the intervention group, prescriptions consistent with recommendations in the guidelines increased from 60.5% before the campaign to 87.7% afterwards. Improvement also occurred in the control group, from 52.9% to 71.7% of prescriptions. The improvement within the intervention group was significantly greater than that within the control group.

Conclusions: The educational campaign significantly improved the prescribing of appropriate antibiotics for tonsillitis by general practitioners.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Tonsillitis / drug therapy*
  • Victoria


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents