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Level of Antibiotic Prescribing High for Children in Tennessee

Nearly 25 percent of overall, broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions written by 1.7 percent of providers

FRIDAY, Jan. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The outpatient antibiotic prescribing rate for children was 1,165 per 1,000 in Tennessee in 2016, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Sophie E. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of pediatric outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in Tennessee in 2016. The authors sought to identify patient and provider characteristics associated with high-volume antibiotic prescribing.

The researchers found that Tennessee providers wrote 1,940,011 pediatric outpatient antibiotic prescriptions, for a prescribing rate of 1,165 per 1,000 population; this was 50 percent higher than the national rate. There was considerable variation by county in mean antibiotic prescribing rates, from 39 to 2,482 per 1,000 population. The greatest number of antibiotic prescriptions were written by physicians (54 percent of prescriptions); 56 percent of these were written by general pediatricians. Compared with physicians graduating after 2000, those graduating from medical school before 2000 were significantly more likely to be high antibiotic prescribers. Nearly 25 percent of both overall and broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions were written by 360 providers (1.7 percent of the 21,798 providers in the data set); one-fifth of these providers practiced in a single county.

“Tennessee is one of the highest antibiotic prescribing states in the country, and this research is a first step to identifying patient and provider characteristics that can be used to design stewardship interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing in our state,” Katz said in a statement.

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