Use of behavioral economics and social psychology to improve treatment

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Persell, S.D., Friedberg, M.W., Meeker, D., Linder, J.A., Fox, C.R., Goldstein, N.J., Shah, P.D., Knight, T.K. & Doctor, J.N. (2013) * Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for nonbacterial infections leads to increases in the costs of care, antibiotic resistance among bacteria, and adverse drug events. Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are the most common reason for inappropriate antibiotic use. Most prior efforts to decrease inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for ARIs (e.g., educational or informational interventions) have relied on the implicit assumption that clinicians inappropriately prescribe antibiotics because they are unaware of guideline recommendations for ARIs. If lack of guideline awareness is not the reason for inappropriate prescribing, educational interventions may have limited impact on prescribing rates. Instead, interventions that apply social psychological and behavioral economic principles may be more effective in deterring inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for ARIs by well-informed clinicians.