Implementation of indication-based antibiotic order sentences improves antibiotic use in emergency departments

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The American journal of emergency medicine


INTRODUCTION: Prior data have suggested that suboptimal antibiotic prescribing in the emergency department (ED) is common for uncomplicated lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), urinary tract infections (UTI), and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI). The objective of this study was to measure the effect of indication-based antibiotic order sentences (AOS) on optimal antibiotic prescribing in the ED.

METHODS: This was an IRB-approved quasi-experiment of adults prescribed antibiotics in EDs for uncomplicated LRTI, UTI, or ABSSSI from January to June 2019 (pre-implementation) and September to December 2021 (post-implementation). AOS implementation occurred in July 2021. AOS are lean process, electronic discharge prescriptions retrievable by name or indication within the discharge order field. The primary outcome was optimal prescribing, defined as correct antibiotic selection, dose, and duration per local and national guidelines. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were performed; multivariable logistic regression was used to determine variables associated with optimal prescribing.

RESULTS: A total of 294 patients were included: 147 pre-group and 147 post-group. Overall optimal prescribing improved from 12 (8%) to 34 (23%) (P < 0.001). Individual components of optimal prescribing were optimal selection at 90 (61%) vs 117 (80%) (P < 0.001), optimal dose at 99 (67%) vs 115 (78%) (P = 0.036), and optimal duration at 38 (26%) vs 50 (34%) (P = 0.13) for pre- and post-group, respectively. AOS was independently associated with optimal prescribing after multivariable logistic regression analysis (adjOR, 3.6; 95%CI,1.7-7.2). A post-hoc analysis showed low uptake of AOS by ED prescribers.

CONCLUSIONS: AOS are an efficient and promising strategy to enhance antimicrobial stewardship in the ED.

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