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To assess General Practitioner (GP) and pediatrician adherence to clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for diagnosis, treatment and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Medical records for 306 children aged ≤15 years from 46 GP clinics and 20 pediatric practices in Australia were reviewed against 34 indicators derived from CPG recommendations. At indicator level, adherence was estimated as the percentage of indicators with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ responses for adherence, which were scored ‘Yes’. This was done separately for GPs, pediatricians and overall; and weighted to adjust for sampling processes.
Adherence with guidelines was high at 83.6% (95% CI: 77.7–88.5) with pediatricians (90.1%; 95% CI: 73.0–98.1) higher than GPs (68.3%; 95% CI: 46.0–85.8; p = 0.02). Appropriate assessment for children presenting with signs or symptoms of ADHD was undertaken with 95.2% adherence (95% CI: 76.6–99.9), however ongoing reviews for children with ADHD prescribed stimulant medication was markedly lower for both pediatricians (51.1%; 95% CI: 9.6–91.4) and GPs (18.7%; 95% CI: 4.1–45.5).
Adherence to CPGs for ADHD by pediatricians was generally high. Adherence by GPs was lower across most domains; timely recognition of medication side effects is a particular area for improvement.
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