Noncompliance was defined as not meeting the treatment recommendations from either of the two guidelines. Compliance was defined as meeting in total or in part the recommendations from at least one of the guidelines. This relatively broad definition was used to account for the possibility of the prescriber using a different reference than the ones selected for the DUE. It was also recognized that there may be a number of factors preventing full compliance. For example, the use of a second line drug may be motivated by the patient having an adverse drug reaction to one of the first line agents. For this reason, the degree of recommanda-tion was not directly considered in the definition of compliance.
Because there was an interest in obtaining more information on the source of deviance from the guidelines, a subanalysis of prescriptions partially meeting the guidelines was performed. Partial compliance was defined as partially meeting the treatment recommendations from the guidelines in terms of the dose, the duration of treatment or the number of antibiotics prescribed.
• Dose: dose below or above the dose recommended in the guidelines.
• Duration: duration of treatment shorter or longer than recommended in the guidelines.
• Antibiotics: at least one antibiotic missing when a combination of antibiotics is recommended in the guidelines.
Data analysis was performed in March 2000 once all data collection forms were completed and sent back to Ottawa to ensure that the same approach was used for all cases. Because the approach used for this DUE was descriptive in nature, no formal statistical analysis was performed on the results.