A health insurance company-initiated practice support intervention for optimizing acid-suppressing drug prescriptions in primary care

Hugo M. Smeets, Arno W. Hoes, Nicolaas P.A. Zuithoff, Paul C.M. Van Dijk, Arnold P.M. Van Der Lee, Niek J. De Wit

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: A health insurance-initiated programme to improve cost-effectiveness of acid-suppressing drugs (ASDs). Aim: To evaluate the effect of two different interventions of general practitioner support in reducing drug prescription. Materials and methods: A sequential cluster randomized controlled trial with 90 participating general practitioners in a telephone support (TS) group or practice visit (PV) group. TS group received support in phase-1 (first 6 months), but served as control group in phase-2 (6-12 months period). PV group received no intervention in phase-1, serving as the control group for the TS group, but received support in phase-2. Prescription data were extracted from Agis Health Insurance Database. Outcomes were the proportion of responders to drug reduction and the number of defined daily dose (DDD). Differences in users and DDD were analysed using multilevel regression analysis. Results: At baseline, 3424 patients used ASD chronically (211 DDDs, on average). The difference between TS and control groups among responders was 3.2% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.8; 5.6] and relative risk was 1.26 (95% CI: 1.06; 1.51). The difference between PV and control groups was not relevant (0.4%, 95% CI: -1.99; 2.79 and relative risk: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.82; 1.20). The difference in DDD per patient was -3.0 (95% CI: -8.9; 2.9) and -5.82 (95% CI: -12.4; 0.73), respectively. Conclusion: This health insurance company-initiated intervention had a moderate effect on ASD prescription. In contrast to TS, PVs did not seem to reduce ASD prescription rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-670
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • acid-suppressing drugs
  • health insurance company
  • optimizing prescriptions
  • practice support
  • primary care
  • randomized trial

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