Objective.

To reduce the injudicious use of antibiotics, we developed an educational strategy that focused on parents of pediatric patients and their physicians.

Methods.

This intervention was conducted in 5 pediatric practices in Arkansas during a 9-month period. Baseline data on parent attitudes about antibiotics and physician practice habits were measured by questionnaire. During the following 36 weeks, an educational videotape about the judicious use of antibiotics was played in waiting rooms. The videotape on antibiotics used a standard script based on the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The physicians and staff at each site were actors in the videotape. During week 2 and week 36 of videotape use, parent attitudes were measured again. After the baseline week, the physicians and staff in each site were provided a standard in-service review of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for judicious use of antibiotics. A study nurse recruited patients, administered questionnaires, and reviewed charts onsite.

Results.

Parents who were exposed to the videotape were significantly less inclined to seek antibiotics for viral infections. Passively provided pamphlets were not read. No significant change in antibiotic prescribing by physicians was seen.

Conclusion.

Parent-focused passive education tools are effective at changing parent attitudes toward the use of antibiotics. Although physicians have blamed parent attitudes and demands for the overuse of antibiotics, changes in parent attitudes in this study were not associated with changes in prescribing rates. Changes in parent attitudes may be necessary but do not seem sufficient for changes in antimicrobial prescribing patterns.

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