A simple institutional educational intervention to decrease use of selected expensive medications

Elliot J Roth*, Christopher T. Plastaras, M. Sean Mullin, Joseph Fillmore, Mikel L. Moses

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether a simple educational intervention can influence use of prescription medications at an institution. Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis of prescribing behavior before and after an educational intervention. Setting: A large, urban, free-standing academic rehabilitation hospital. Participants: Physicians, residents, and physician extenders. Interventions: The hospital's pharmacy department provided simple written educational material about cost differences of various prescription medications to attending and resident physicians, nurse leaders, and case managers. Telephoned reminders were given when targeted medications were prescribed. Main Outcome Measures: Total prescription medication use was recorded monthly for 12 months before and after the intervention. Pharmaceuticals monitored were subcutaneously administered anticoagulants, histamine type 2 (H2) blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Results: A 32% decrease in use of the more costly anticoagulant and a 20% increase in use of the less costly anticoagulant (p < .0001), representing an estimated annual savings of nearly $66,000. Use of more costly H2 antagonist decreased 50% and use of less costly H2 antagonist increased 128% (p < .0001). With written intervention only, use of more costly NSAIDs declined 28%, whereas use of less costly NSAIDs increased 58% (p < .0020). Conclusion: Providing physicians with simple pharmaceutical cost information and telephone reminders decreased the use of targeted more costly medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-636
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Drug use
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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