Aetna leans on analytics, state health departments to curb antibiotic overprescribing

Aetna has sent nearly 1,500 letters to antibiotic "superprescribers" across 43 states as part of an initiative to reduce overprescribing. The insurer is also working with health departments in six states, using co-branded letters signed by state officials to strengthen the messaging.

Aetna has sent nearly 1,500 letters to antibiotic "superprescribers" across 43 states as part of an initiative to reduce overprescribing. The insurer is also working with health departments in six states, using co-branded letters signed by state officials to strengthen the messaging. Aetna used its existing partnership with the CDC to connect with states where it had a high membership and the health department was interested in controlling antibiotic prescribing. The six states were California, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia. In Texas, the state's health commissioner included an accompanying letter warning about the threats of antibiotic resistance. Last year, Aetna started working with the CDC on antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis in adults. A study published in the journal <i>Antibiotics</i> in December found that 62% of adults with uncomplicated acute bronchitis were prescribed antibiotics at family medical clinics between 2011 and 2016. Using data analytics, Aetna isolated physicians in its network that inappropriately prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis at least 50% of the time to at least five members. Aetna also sent 175 letters to antibiotic stewardship "champion" providers who avoided inappropriate antibiotic prescribing 100% of the time for at least three members with bronchitis.