Background: In May 2008 Minnesota pharmacy statutes were amended allowing physicians to write prescriptions for a sexual partner without prior medical evaluation for chlamydia and gonorrhea. It was unclear how this practice would be utilized and accepted in Minnesota.
Objectives: To conduct an EPT pilot project in one or more clinical settings to evaluate the uptake and effectiveness of EPT for patients diagnosed with chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Project Description: In the spring of 2010, MDH implemented a demonstration project in twelve clinics, ending December 2011. In addition to ongoing technical assistance, clinics receive partner packets with medication and educational materials, as well as quarterly reports summarizing clinic-specific and overall project data. In return, clinics send MDH contact information for the index patient and data about the utilization of partner packets. Index patients that accept or reject EPT are contacted by telephone two weeks after receiving treatment. Telephone interviews are conducted confidentially.
Findings: The percentage of patients offered EPT has varied by clinic from 3%-67%. Of the 835 patients offered EPT to-date, 78% (651) accepted and 22% (184) refused. Interviews were conducted on 546 (65%) patients offered EPT. Of those interviewed, 87% (368) were certain that their partner(s) had completed the EPT treatment. Data collection is ongoing. Planning for and implementing EPT by MDH has been found to be resource intensive, as has involved considerable staff time preparing, delivering, and tracking packets.
Conclusions: Most patients that have been offered EPT, accepted EPT, and their partner(s) utilized the delivered medication. Clinics should assess their patient population when planning for EPT implementation, as this will determine who is offered EPT and therefore impact both the success and the costs associated with using EPT.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and Research: To establish EPT as a permanent intervention, clinics must consider funding, available staff resources, and potential barriers such as insurance reimbursement.