Objective: To determine whether immediate concurrent feedback (ICF) focused on inpatient omeprazole prescribing achieved more rational and cost-effective antiulcer drug prescribing and usage.
Methods: In a 1400-bed teaching hospital, an audit (by specially trained personnel) was conducted to monitor inpatient prescribing of omeprazole (1) in preference to H2-antagonists and other drugs according to agreed criteria (Helicobacter pylori eradication, severe reflux esophagitis, rapid ulcer healing deemed urgent because of severe symptoms or complications, high-dose steroid therapy of > or =30 mg/day prednisolone) and (2) appropriateness of intravenous dosing (oral route not feasible or contraindicated). After baseline monitoring for 1 month, followed by relevant antiulcer drug therapy education, ICF was instituted for 1 year. This entailed explanatory memoranda requesting a change in prescribing issued to the respective medical teams of patients whose omeprazole prescription did not "conform." The main outcomes of the study were omeprazole prescription numbers per month and the proportion conforming, defined daily doses of antiulcer drugs used and corresponding expenditures, and pertinent antiulcer drug utilization data from 9 other local hospitals.
Results: Baseline omeprazole prescribing conformed in 32 of 173 (18%) of the patients compared with 451 of 546 (83%) during institution of ICF (P < 0001; chi2 test). Correspondingly, average overall omeprazole and ranitidine usage (inpatient and outpatient) and expenditure decreased (44% and 45%, respectively); collectively, use of less expensive alternatives increased about 61%. Estimated savings averaged about HK$150,000 ($20,000) per month. No comparable changes in usage were noted in 9 other local hospitals.
Conclusion: Regarding hospital antiulcer drugs, this ICF strategy was associated with more rational prescribing and usage, and an important saving of resources.