Background: Australian General Practitioners (GPs) are generous prescribers of antibiotics, prompting concerns including increasing antimicrobial resistance in the community. Recent data show that GPs in vocational training have prescribing patterns comparable with the high prescribing rate of their established GP supervisors. Evidence-based guidelines consistently advise that antibiotics are not indicated for uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and are rarely indicated for acute bronchitis. A number of interventions have been trialled to promote rational antibiotic prescribing by established GPs (with variable effectiveness), but the impact of such interventions in a training setting is unclear. We hypothesise that intervening while early-career GPs are still developing their practice patterns and prescribing habits will result in better adherence to evidence-based guidelines as manifested by lower antibiotic prescribing rates for URTIs and acute bronchitis.
Methods/design: The intervention consists of two online modules, a face-to-face workshop for GP trainees, a face-to-face workshop for their supervisors and encouragement for the trainee-supervisor dyad to include a case-based discussion of evidence-based antibiotic prescribing in their weekly one-on-one teaching meetings. We will use a non-randomised, non-equivalent control group design to assess the impact on antibiotic prescribing for acute upper respiratory infections and acute bronchitis by GP trainees in vocational training.
Discussion: Early-career GPs who are still developing their clinical practice and prescribing habits are an underutilized target-group for interventions to curb the growth of antimicrobial resistance in the community. Interventions that are embedded into existing training programs or are linked to continuing professional development have potential to increase the impact of existing interventions at limited additional cost.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12614001209684 (registered 17/11/2014).