Publication Date



sinusitis, electronic health records, decision support, antibiotic prescribing, best practice alert


Purpose: Acute sinusitis has viral etiology in more than 90% of cases, but antibiotics are prescribed for more than 80% of adults in the United States. While applications of computer-assisted guidelines have been found effective in reducing inaccurate prescribing for acute respiratory infections, there is a paucity of research focused specifically on the utilization of electronic best practice alerts (BPA) in improving treatment for acute sinusitis.

Methods: This observational cohort study examined prescribing behavior for sinusitis at a single Federally Qualified Health Center 1 year prior and during the first year of implementation of a BPA in the electronic health record (EHR) reminding providers of the recommended treatment of sinusitis. The advisory included a link to national guidelines and a note template was installed to assist providers in documentation. The BPA appeared on the providers’ screen when an ICD-9 code of acute or bacterial sinusitis was entered during the patient visit.

Results: After adjusting for select patient and provider factors, the computer-assisted guidelines effectively reduced the overall antibiotic prescribing among these patients by 31% (relative risk: 0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.51–0.95) and reduced incorrect prescribing from 88.5% to 78.7% (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Clinical reminders within the EHR can be an effective tool to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and improve providers’ decisions regarding the correct antibiotic choices for patients with acute sinusitis.




November 29th, 2017


February 1st, 2018


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