Appropriate choice of empiric antibiotic therapy, in line with local guidelines, improves outcome for children with infection, while reducing adverse drug effects, cost, and selection of antimicrobial resistance. Data from national point prevalence surveys showed compliance with local prescribing guidelines at our hospital was suboptimal. A team with representatives from the pharmacy, microbiology and emergency departments collaborated with prescribers to improve the quality of empiric antibiotic prescribing. The project aim was, using the ‘Model for Improvement’, to ensure ≥90% of children admitted via the Emergency Department (ED) and commenced on antibiotic therapy, have a documented indication and a choice of therapy in line with local antimicrobial guidelines.
Method Results of weekly audits of the first ten children admitted via ED and started on antibiotics were fed back to prescribers. Front line ownership techniques were used to develop ideas for change, including; regular antibiotic prescribing discussion at Monday morning handover meeting, antibiotic ‘spot quiz’ for prescribers, updates to prescribing guidelines (along with improved access and promotion of prescribing app), printed ID badge guideline summary cards, reminders and guideline summaries at point of prescribing in ED.
Collection of audit data initially proved challenging, but was resolved through a series of rapid PDSA cycles. Initial support from ED consultants and other ED staff facilitated establishment of the project. Presentation of weekly run charts to prescribers fostered considerable support among consultants and non-consultant doctors (NCHDs). We saw a shift in perspective from ‘how is your project going?’ to ‘How are we doing?’.
Results Documentation of indication and guideline compliance increased from a median of 30% in December 2014/January 2015 to 100% consistently from February 2015 to the present. It is felt that a change in approach to antimicrobial prescribing is now embedded in our hospital culture as this improvement has remained constant through three NCHD changeovers. A comparison of 2014 Antimicrobial expenditure to 2015 figures shows a reduction in expenditure of €101,078.44.
Conclusion This project has inspired other departments to develop local QIPs and has encouraged the surgical teams to lead their own audits in antimicrobial stewardship. An improvement in other areas of antimicrobial prescribing has also been noted e.g. documentation of review date.
The initiative has been shared with other hospitals throughout Ireland via presentations at the National Patient Safety Conference, Antimicrobial Awareness day and the Irish Antimicrobial Pharmacist’s Group meeting. It has also been shared at both European and international conferences. The project was a shortlisted finalist for a national healthcare excellence award and has been rolled out as part of a national quality improvement collaborative.
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