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Improving Antimicrobial Use in the Hospital Setting by Providing Usage Feedback to Prescribing Physicians

  • Forest W. Arnold (a1), L. Clifford McDonald (a1), R. Scott Smith (a2), David Newman (a2) and Julio A. Ramirez (a1)...



To determine whether feedback on antimicrobial use improves physician compliance with local hospital guidelines on antimicrobial prescribing.


In this time series analysis, in which a historical control period was compared with an intervention period, all orders for antimicrobials (except those for surgical prophylaxis) placed from November 1, 2002, through April 30, 2004, were prospectively evaluated by an antimicrobial management team (AMT) for compliance with local hospital guidelines. During the control period, orders were evaluated to determine compliance with hospital guidelines before and after recommendations by the AMT were provided to physicians. Feedback was given for the second 9-month period in the form of a weekly report to prescribing physicians, a monthly hospital newsletter, and a quarterly report to various hospital committees. During the intervention period, orders were evaluated to determine compliance with hospital guidelines before and after recommendations by the AMT were provided to physicians.


The Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a 110-bed facility, in Louisville, Kentucky.


Internal medicine physicians and general surgeons.


A total of 2,807 antimicrobial courses were evaluated. Compliance with hospital guidelines before AMT recommendations was 70% during the control period and 74% during the intervention period (P = .02). Compliance after AMT recommendations was 90% during the control period and 93% during the intervention period (P ≤ .01).


The use of feedback had a significantly favorable impact on physician compliance with the hospital's guidelines on antimicrobial prescribing. Use of feedback should be added to the list of interventions that promote appropriate antimicrobial use in the hospital setting.


Corresponding author

512 South Hancock Street, Carmichael Building, Room 208E, Louisville, KY 40292 (


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