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IIR 18-228 – HSR Study

IIR 18-228
Engaging Patients to Promote Deprescribing
Amy M Linsky, MD MSc
VA Boston Healthcare System Jamaica Plain Campus, Jamaica Plain, MA
Boston, MA
Funding Period: March 2020 - August 2024


Background – Despite multiple provider- and system-level interventions to reduce potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs), many Veterans are still prescribed drugs that provide little benefit, placing them at unnecessary risk of adverse drug events (ADEs). One mechanism to reduce PIMs is through deprescribing, a de-implementation-based approach to thoughtfully discontinue a medication a patient is currently prescribed. Many Choosing Wisely recommendations address PIMs. Specifically, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a medicine used to reduce gastric acid, should be de-escalated to the lowest dose necessary to provide relief. Many older patients with diabetes are over-controlled, with blood sugar levels lower than recommended, yet remain on multiple diabetes medicines and may be able to use fewer medicines. These patients are also at higher risk of low blood sugar from insulin and sulfonylureas, and should have limited use of these agents. Finally, gabapentin is often used off-label to treat pain, with greatly increased use over the past several years. There are many barriers to deprescribing PIMs. Many interventions solely target the prescribing provider. Although some believe providers have primary responsibility for deprescribing, patient initiation of discontinuation conversations can effectively facilitate deprescribing. In a single-site pilot study, we successfully reduced PIMs by engaging VA Primary Care patients by providing them with Veteran-centric EMPOWER (“Eliminating Medications through Patient Ownership of End Results”) brochures. However, it is not known if this approach will be as successful for Veterans with other chronic conditions or at non-pilot sites. Aims – We propose three aims. 1) Examine the impact of a patient-centered intervention to change provider prescribing (the primary outcome), as determined by the frequency with which medications are either deprescribed or de-escalated. 2) Examine the effect of a patient-centered intervention on engaging patients, via post-visit surveys of Veterans’ interaction with the brochures and their influence on deprescribing discussions and deprescribing. 3) Using qualitative methods, identify key organizational contextual factors related to intervention fidelity, feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness to support future implementation. Methods and Innovation – We propose a multisite quasi-experimental trial using a Hybrid Type I Effectiveness-Implementation design of providing EMPOWER brochures directly to Veterans who may be deprescribing candidates for three cohorts of PIMs (PPIs, diabetes medications, and gabapentin). We will mail brochures in advance of scheduled primary care visits, unlike distribution methods used in other studies. Our primary outcome will be the composite of deprescribing and de-escalation of target medications, identified in pharmacy dispensing records of the Corporate Data Warehouse (Aim 1). Mail-based surveys sent after the scheduled primary care visit will assess patient engagement with the brochure and its impact on patient- provider communication (Aim 2). Finally, qualitative data from clinicians and staff addressing Proctor’s Implementation Outcomes will provide the foundation for future implementation strategies (Aim 3). Significance and Next Steps – Our study directly addresses multiple Veteran Care Priorities, including health care value, primary care practice, quality/safety, and Whole Health, and is aligned with current VA initiatives to prioritize patient preferences via individually-tailored, proactive care plans. The proposed work is strongly supported by Pharmacy Benefits Management and Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, which will facilitate the dissemination of findings to improve the quality and safety of medication use within VA. By study end, we will have established the effectiveness of an innovative, low-tech, patient-focused intervention to promote deprescribing of commonly used medications for three populations, thereby directly improving quality, safety, and value of VA care while also setting the stage for wider implementation and generalization of this approach to other potentially inappropriate medications.

External Links for this Project

NIH Reporter

Grant Number: I01HX002798-01A1

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Journal Articles

  1. Zimmerman KM, Linsky AM. A narrative review of updates in deprescribing research. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2021 Sep 1; 69(9):2619-2624. [view]
  2. Niznik JD, Zhao X, Slieanu F, Mor MK, Aspinall SL, Gellad WF, Ersek M, Hickson RP, Springer SP, Schleiden LJ, Hanlon JT, Thorpe JM, Thorpe CT. Effect of Deintensifying Diabetes Medications on Negative Events in Older Veteran Nursing Home Residents. Diabetes Care. 2022 Jul 7; 45(7):1558-1567. [view]

DRA: Diabetes and Other Endocrine Conditions
DRE: Treatment - Observational, TRL - Applied/Translational
Keywords: Decision-Making, Patient Safety, Pharmacology
MeSH Terms: None at this time.

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