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Clinical Trial Summary

Polypharmacy is common among older adults in the United States and is associated with harms such as adverse drug reactions and higher costs of care. This pilot-phase project is designed to test two electronic health record (EHR)-based behavioral economic nudges to help primary care clinicians reduce the rate of high-risk polypharmacy among their older adult patients.


Clinical Trial Description

Polypharmacy increases the likelihood of being prescribed and harmed by high-risk medications. As noted in the 2014 National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event (ADE) Prevention, polypharmacy both increases the likelihood of being prescribed high-risk medications and increases the likelihood that these high-risk medications will lead to adverse drug events. This pilot-phase study is intended to test clinicians' perceptions of EHR-based nudges designed to reduce high-risk polypharmacy among patients aged 65 years or more, thereby enabling investigators to refine the nudges, and to generate outcomes data that will inform power calculations for a subsequent larger study (the main study) of the nudges' effectiveness.

In this pilot-phase study, the investigators will deploy 2 EHR-based behavioral nudges (a commitment nudge and a justification nudge) among approximately 18 primary care clinicians in 3 primary care practices (approximately 6 clinicians per practice) affiliated with Northwestern University for approximately 4 months. The 3 practices participating in the pilot will be a convenience sample of Northwestern-affiliated practices known to study investigators.

The investigators will randomly assign each of the 3 participating pilot practices to 1 of 3 arms: (1) commitment nudge, (2) justification nudge, or (3) both commitment and justification nudges. Randomization will be at the practice level, without replacement, thus assigning exactly 1 practice to each arm. All participating clinicians within a given practice will receive the same nudges.

Northwestern-affiliated practices that do not participate in the pilot will constitute a fourth arm of this pilot study.

The investigators will ask leaders of participating practices for their qualitative observations on how clinicians and patients experience the nudges (e.g., how the nudges affect workflows). The investigators also will collect data on the outcome measures before and during the approximately 4-month pilot period and compare these data to contemporaneous outcomes measures generated by Northwestern-affiliated practices that do not participate in the pilot. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT03791580
Study type Interventional
Source RAND
Contact Mark W Friedberg, MD, MPP
Phone 617-338-2059
Email mfriedbe@rand.org
Status Not yet recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date January 28, 2019
Completion date September 1, 2019

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