Antibiotic dispensing guidelines
Overuse of antibiotics is directly linked to the prevalence of antibiotic resistance. Promoting judicious use of antibiotics is important for reducing the emergence of harmful bacteria that is unresponsive to treatment. The following HEDIS® measures assess appropriate antibiotic dispensing for pharyngitis, upper respiratory infection and bronchitis/bronchiolitis. Changes for HEDIS 2020 include expanded age range and additional stratifications.
Appropriate Testing for Pharyngitis (CWP)
Pediatric Clinical Practice Guidelines recommend only children with lab‑confirmed group A strep or other bacteria-related ailments be treated with appropriate antibiotics. This measure reports the percentage of episodes for members 3 years of age and older where the member was diagnosed with pharyngitis, prescribed an antibiotic at an outpatient visit and received a group A strep test. A higher rate indicates better performance (in other words, appropriate testing).
Appropriate Treatment for Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)
This measure calculates the percentage of episodes for members 3 months of age and older with a diagnosis of upper respiratory infection that did not result in an antibiotic dispensing event. Reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics is the goal of this measure. It is reported as an inverted rate. A higher rate indicates appropriate upper respiratory infection treatment (in other words, the proportion of episodes that did not result in an antibiotic dispensing event).
Avoidance of Antibiotic Treatment for Acute Bronchitis/Bronchiolitis (AAB)
There is considerable evidence that prescribing antibiotics for uncomplicated acute bronchitis is not indicated unless it is associated with a comorbid diagnosis. This measure assesses the percentage of episodes for members ages 3 months and older with a diagnosis of acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis that did not result in an antibiotic dispensing event. It is reported as an inverted rate. A higher rate indicates appropriate acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis treatment (in other words, the proportion of episodes that did not result in an antibiotic dispensing event).
- When patients present with symptoms of pharyngitis, ensure proper testing (for strep) is performed to avoid the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics. Record the results of the strep test.
- If prescribing an antibiotic to members with acute bronchitis, be sure to use the diagnosis code for the bacterial infection and/or comorbid condition.
- Educate members on the difference between bacterial and viral infections. Refer to the illness as a common cold, sore throat or chest cold. Parents and caregivers tend to associate these labels with a less frequent need for antibiotics.
- Write a prescription for symptom relief, such as rest, fluids, cool mist vaporizers and over‑the‑counter medicine.
- If a patient insists on an antibiotic, consider using delayed prescribing. Refer to the CDC handout for patients titled What is Delayed Prescribing? available at the link below.
- CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware campaign: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/index.html
- CDC handouts for patients: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/materials-references/index.html
March 2020 Anthem Blue Cross Provider News - California