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JAMA Netw Open


Importance: Although prescribers face numerous patient-centered challenges during transitions of care (TOC) at hospital discharge, prolonged duration of antimicrobial therapy for common infections remains problematic, and resources are needed for antimicrobial stewardship throughout this period.

Objective: To evaluate a pharmacist-driven intervention designed to improve selection and duration of oral antimicrobial therapy prescribed at hospital discharge for common infections.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This quality improvement study used a nonrandomized stepped-wedge design with 3 study phases from September 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019. Seventeen distinct medicine, surgery, and specialty units from a health system in Southeast Michigan participated, including 1 academic tertiary hospital and 4 community hospitals. Hospitalized adults who had urinary, respiratory, skin and/or soft tissue, and intra-abdominal infections and were prescribed antimicrobials at discharge were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed from February 18, 2020, to February 28, 2022.

Interventions: Clinical pharmacists engaged in a new standard of care for antimicrobial stewardship practices during TOC by identifying patients to be discharged with a prescription for oral antimicrobials and collaborating with primary teams to prescribe optimal therapy. Academic and community hospitals used both antimicrobial stewardship and clinical pharmacists in a multidisciplinary rounding model to discuss, document, and facilitate order entry of the antimicrobial prescription at discharge.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary end point was frequency of optimized antimicrobial prescription at discharge. Health system guidelines developed from national guidelines and best practices for short-course therapies were used to evaluate optimal therapy.

Results: A total of 800 patients prescribed oral antimicrobials at hospital discharge were included in the analysis (441 women [55.1%]; mean [SD] age, 66.8 [17.3] years): 400 in the preintervention period and 400 in the postintervention period. The most common diagnoses were pneumonia (264 [33.0%]), upper respiratory tract infection and/or acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (214 [26.8%]), and urinary tract infection (203 [25.4%]). Patients in the postintervention group were more likely to have an optimal antimicrobial prescription (time-adjusted generalized estimating equation odds ratio, 5.63 [95% CI, 3.69-8.60]). The absolute increase in optimal prescribing in the postintervention group was consistent in both academic (37.4% [95% CI, 27.5%-46.7%]) and community (43.2% [95% CI, 32.4%-52.8%]) TOC models. There were no differences in clinical resolution or mortality. Fewer severe antimicrobial-related adverse effects (time-adjusted generalized estimating equation odds ratio, 0.40 [95% CI, 0.18-0.88]) were identified in the postintervention (13 [3.2%]) compared with the preintervention (36 [9.0%]) groups.

Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this quality improvement study suggest that targeted antimicrobial stewardship interventions during TOC were associated with increased optimal, guideline-concordant antimicrobial prescriptions at discharge.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Aged; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Anti-Infective Agents; Antimicrobial Stewardship; Female; Hospitals, Community; Humans; Male; Patient Discharge; Pharmacists

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