Thursday, 20 February 2014

Shenzhen clinics show over-prescribing of antibiotics can be curbed by removing financial incentives for doctors

by Michael Woodhead
Antibiotic prescribing fell significantly when Shenzhen community clinics severed their ties with hospitals and dropped the financial incentives to prescribe them, a study has shown.
Published in the journal Family Practice, the study by Dr Liang Xiaoyun and colleagues at Beijing Normal University shows that prescribing of antibiotics fell by about 10% when the governance model of community  clinics in Shenzhen's Baoan district was changed by government in 2009. Under the new independent model, doctors no longer received financial incentives for prescribing. After the reform, the number of young children receiving antibiotics decreased by 9%. The costs of antibiotic prescriptions also fell because doctors tended to prescribe cheaper first generation antibiotics instead of more expensive newer drugs. The study authors said their findings showed that "changes in governance structure model can have positive effects on the antibiotic prescribing behaviour of providers. This short-term effect might have an important
implication for community health reform in China."

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