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Mandatory active surveillance culturing of all patients admitted to Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals carries substantial economic costs. Clinical prediction rules have been used elsewhere to identify patients at high risk of colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). We aimed to derive and evaluate the clinical efficacy of prediction rules for MRSA and VRE colonization in a VA hospital.
Design and Setting.
Prospective cohort of adult inpatients admitted to the medical and surgical wards of a 119-bed tertiary care VA hospital.
Within 48 hours after admission, patients gave consent, completed a 44-item risk factor questionnaire, and provided nasal culture samples for MRSA testing. A subset provided perirectal culture samples for VRE testing.
Of 598 patients enrolled from August 30, 2007, through October 30, 2009, 585 provided nares samples and 239 provided perirectal samples. The prevalence of MRSA was 10.4% (61 of 585) (15.0% in patients with and 5.6% in patients without electronic medical record (EMR)-documented antibiotic use during the past year; P < .01). The prevalence of VRE was 6.3% (15 of 239) (11.3% in patients with and 0.9% in patients without EMR-documented antibiotic use; P < .01 ). The use of EMR-documented antibiotic use during the past year as the predictive rule for screening identified 242.8 (84%) of 290.6 subsequent days of exposure to MRSA and 60.0 (98%) of 61.0 subsequent days of exposure to VRE, respectively. EMR documentation of antibiotic use during the past year identified 301 (51%) of 585 patients as high-risk patients for whom additional testing with active surveillance culturing would be appropriate.
EMR documentation of antibiotic use during the year prior to admission identifies most MRSA and nearly all VRE transmission risk with surveillance culture sampling of only 51% of patients. This approach has substantial cost savings compared with the practice of universal active surveillance.
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