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Background: Antibiotic use (AU) data are needed to improve prescribing in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). CMS requires AU tracking in LTCFs (effective 2017). Although most LTCFs have limited resources for AU tracking, LTCFs contract with LTCF pharmacies to dispense, monitor, and review medications. The objective of our analysis was to report LTCF antibiotic prescribing and characterize temporal changes from 2013 to 2021. Methods: We estimated annual systemic AU rates using prescription dispenses and resident census data from PharMerica, a LTCF-pharmacy services provider that covers ~20% of LTCFs nationwide, although the number of LTCFs and residents serviced by PharMerica varied over time (Fig. 1). We included LTCFs with ≥4 months of antibiotic dispensing and 12 months of census data. We identified courses by collapsing the same drug dispensed to the same resident within 3 days of the preceding end date. Course duration was calculated as the difference between the end and dispense dates. We reported yearly AU rates as courses per 1,000 residents and days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 resident days from 2013 to 2021. We compared AU rates (percentage change) and antibiotic courses by class and agent (absolute percent difference) between 2013 and 2021. Results: From 2013 to 2021, AU course rates reported as antibiotic courses per 1,000 residents decreased (percentage change, −28%), with a notable increase in 2020 (Fig. 1). However, the median course duration remained the same (Table 1). The AU decline was mostly driven by decreases in fluoroquinolone courses (absolute difference, −10%, most commonly levofloxacin) and macrolide courses (−2%, most commonly azithromycin) (Figs. 2 and 3). Increases in cephalosporin courses (absolute difference, +7%, most commonly cephalexin) and tetracycline courses (+5%, most commonly doxycycline) were also observed (Figs. 2 and 3). During this period, AU DOT rates reported as DOT per 1,000 resident days decreased (percentage change, −13%) (Table 1). Conclusions: The LTCF AU rates, especially for fluoroquinolones, have decreased in recent years with associated shifts in the distribution of antibiotic classes. This finding may be due to CMS stewardship requirements and increased awareness of adverse events, including the FDA fluoroquinolone warnings. The observed increase in 2020 could be secondary to changes in prescribing practices and resident population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opportunities to improve prescribing in LTCFs include optimizing treatment duration and leveraging LTCF-pharmacy resources to provide stewardship expertise and support AU tracking and reporting.
Background: In 2021, the CDC awarded >$100 million to 62 state, local, and territorial health departments (SLTHDs) to expand antibiotic stewardship expertise and implement antibiotic stewardship activities in different healthcare settings. Our objective was to describe SLTHD antibiotic stewardship personnel and activities to characterize the impact of the funding. Methods: SLTHDs submitted performance measures, including quantitative and qualitative responses, describing personnel supporting antibiotic stewardship activities, types of activities, and healthcare facilities and professionals engaged from January through June 2022. A quantitative analysis of performance measures and qualitative thematic analysis of select narrative responses are reported. Results: Most SLTHDs (58 of 62, 94%) submitted performance measures. Among them, 37 (64%) reported identifying an antibiotic stewardship leader or coleader; most were pharmacists (57%) or physicians (38%) with infectious diseases training (68%) (Table 1). Of the remaining STLHDs, 20 reported barriers to identifying a leader or coleader, including hiring process delays and programmatic barriers (Table 2). SLTHDs reported 254 antibiotic stewardship activities; most reported activities involving multiple activity types (44%). Education and communication (eg, providing stewardship expertise) was the most common single activity (30%), followed by antibiotic use tracking and reporting (13%), assessment of antibiotic stewardship implementation (8%), and action and implementation (eg, audit and feedback letters) (4%). The highest number of activities were implemented in multiple healthcare settings (35%), followed by acute care (21%), outpatient (18%), long-term care (17%), and other (9%) (Fig. 1). SLTHDs reported engaging 4,970 healthcare facilities and 15,194 healthcare professionals in antibiotic stewardship activities across healthcare settings, to date, as part of this funding opportunity (Fig. 2). Conclusions: Antibiotic stewardship funding to SLTHDs allowed for increases in capacity and expanded outreach to implement a variety of antibiotic stewardship activities across multiple healthcare settings. Sustaining STLHD antibiotic stewardship activities can help increase engagement and coordination with healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals, and other partners to optimize antibiotic prescribing and patient safety.
Background: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common indication for antibiotic prescribing in hospitalized patients. Professional societies’ clinical guidelines recommend specific antibiotics for empiric treatment of CAP based on clinical factors. Manual assessments of appropriateness are time-consuming and are often conducted on a smaller scale. We evaluated empiric antibiotic selection among a large cohort of adults hospitalized with CAP using electronic health records. Methods: In this study, we used the PINC-AI healthcare database to define a cohort of adults hospitalized with CAP from 2013 to 2020. CAP was identified by International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnosis codes. Exclusions were applied to identify uncomplicated CAP (Fig. 1). Treatment was only evaluated if a chest radiograph or computerized tomography (CT) scan was charged during the first 2 days of hospitalization, otherwise it was considered an inadequate CAP evaluation. Administrative billing data were used to identify antibiotics charged within the first 2 days of hospitalization. Empiric guideline-recommended treatment was determined based on 2019 CAP guidelines and more recent studies. Patients who received nonrecommended treatment were evaluated for antibiotic allergies in the current hospitalization or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization or infection in the year prior or on admission using International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) diagnosis codes. Results: We identified 4.47 million adult hospitalizations with CAP from 2013 to 2020; 32% (1.43 million) were included in this analysis (Fig. 1). Among discharges with adequate CAP evaluation (1.37 million), 59.7% received recommended antibiotics in the first 2 days of hospitalization, ranging from 62.6% in 2013 to 57.5% in 2019. Overall, 34.8% of our study population received a nonrecommended antibiotic without documentation of an antibiotic allergy or MRSA colonization (2013: 32.5%; 2018: 36.7%) (Fig. 2). Most patients in our study population received >1 antibiotic (92.3%) in the first 2 days of hospitalization. The most common antibiotics among patients receiving recommended treatment were ceftriaxone (74.2% of patients receiving recommended treatment), azithromycin (67.2%), and levofloxacin (31.8%) (Fig. 3a). The most common nonrecommended antibiotics were vancomycin (57.2% of patients receiving nonrecommended treatment), piperacillin-tazobactam (48.1%), and cefepime (25.7%) (Fig. 3b). From 2013 to 2020, cefepime charges consistently increased among CAP patients treated with nonrecommended antibiotics, whereas levofloxacin charges consistently decreased among CAP patients treated with only recommended antibiotics. Conclusions: Approximately one-third of patients with uncomplicated CAP received nonrecommended empiric antibiotics, and from 2013 to 2020 that proportion increased by 9%. Additional strategies are needed to help identify opportunities to optimize antibiotic selection among patients with CAP.
Background: The 2014 US National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria aimed to reduce inappropriate inpatient antibiotic use by 20% for monitored conditions, such as community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), by 2020. Clinical guidelines recommend treating uncomplicated CAP with a minimum of 5 days of antibiotic therapy. Total length of therapy (LOT) >7 days or >3 days after clinical improvement is rarely necessary. In a previous study estimating LOT in uncomplicated CAP patients, 71% of patients ≥65 years exceeded recommended duration of antibiotics in 2012–2013 (Yi et al, 2018). We evaluated annual trends in LOT in adults ≥65 years hospitalized with uncomplicated CAP from 2013 to 2020. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among patients in the CMS database with a primary diagnosis of bacterial or unspecified pneumonia using International Classification of Diseases 9th and 10th Revision codes, length of stay (LOS) of 2–10 days, discharged home with self-care, and not rehospitalized in the 3 days following discharge. Discharge home was used as a surrogate for clinical improvement. Because inpatient LOT is not available in CMS data, we used linear regression to model inpatient LOT as a function of LOS using data on CAP patients ≥65 years from the PINC AI healthcare database. Postdischarge LOT was based on prescriptions filled following discharge. Total LOT was calculated by summing estimated inpatient LOT and actual postdischarge LOT (Fig. 1). Total LOT >7 days and postdischarge LOT >3 days were considered indicators of likely excessive LOT. We reported trends in the proportion of patients with likely excessive LOT during the study period. Results: From 2013 through 2020, there were 400,928 uncomplicated CAP hospitalizations among patients aged ≥65 years. Patients were more likely to be female (55%), and they had a median age of 76 years and a median LOS of 3 days. The median total LOT decreased from 9.5 days in 2013 to 7.7 days in 2020. The proportion of patients with total LOT >7 days decreased from 68% in 2013 to 50% in 2020 (% change, −27%); the proportion with postdischarge LOT >3 days decreased from 73% in 2013 to 62% in 2020 (% change, −16%) (Fig. 2). Conclusions: Likely excessive total LOT for adults ≥65 years hospitalized with uncomplicated CAP decreased by 27% in 2020, a considerable improvement from 2013. However, the high proportion of patients with likely excessive postdischarge LOT in 2020 (62%) demonstrates the need for antibiotic stewardship to optimize prescribing at hospital discharge.
The 2007–2018 National Health Interview Survey data linked with Medicare claims were used to examine older adults’ characteristics and assess their associations with receiving an antibiotic prescription. This analysis shows variation in antibiotic prescribing among adults enrolled in Medicare Part D by race and ethnicity, sex, geography, and health status.
The distributions of antibiotic prescriptions by geography, antibiotic class, and prescriber specialty are similar in the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Part D Prescriber Public Use Files and IQVIA Xponent dataset. Public health organizations and healthcare systems can use these data to track antibiotic use and guide antibiotic stewardship interventions for older adults.
Healthcare disparities and inequities exist in a variety of environments and manifest in diagnostic and therapeutic measures. In this commentary, we highlight our experience examining our organization’s urgent care respiratory encounter antibiotic prescribing practices. We identified differences in prescribing based on several individual characteristics including patient age, race, ethnicity, preferred language, and patient and/or clinician gender. Our approach can serve as an electronic health record (EHR)–based methodology for disparity and inequity audits in other systems and for other conditions.
Background: Nearly one-third of patients on hemodialysis receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics annually, but national data characterizing antibiotic use in this population are limited. Using NHSN surveillance data for outpatient dialysis facilities, we estimated temporal changes in the rate of IV antibiotic starts (IVAS) among hemodialysis patients as well as the proportion of IVAS that were not supported by a reported clinical indication. Methods: IVAS events were obtained from the NHSN Dialysis Event module between 2016 and 2020, excluding patients who were out of network, receiving peritoneal or home dialysis, or with unspecified vascular access. IVAS unsupported by documentation were defined as new IVAS without a collected or positive blood culture, pus, redness or swelling event, or an associated clinical symptom. Pooled mean rates of total and unsupported IVAS were estimated per 100 patient months yearly and stratified by vascular access type. Differences in IVAS rates by year were estimated with negative binomial regression. Results: Between 2016 and 2020, 7,278 facilities reported 648,410 IVAS events; 161,317 (25%) were unsupported by documentation (Table 1). In 2016, 3,340 (54%) facilities with ≥1 IVAS event reported an IVAS unsupported by documentation, which increased to 4,994 (73%) in 2020. Total IVAS rates decreased by an average of 8.2% annually (95% CI, 7.1%–9.3%; P < .001). The average annual percentage decrease did not differ significantly by vascular access site. The total IVAS rate was lowest in 2020 (2.17 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 2.18–2.17). IVAS rates in 2020 were greatest for patients with catheter access (4.79 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 4.75–4.83), followed by graft (1.71 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 1.68–1.73), and lowest for patients with fistulas (1.30 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 1.29–1.31). The overall pooled mean rate of unsupported IVAS was 0.64 per 100 patient months (95% CI, 0.63–0.64), which did not significantly change by year (Fig. 1). Conclusions: Total IVAS rates among outpatient hemodialysis patients have decreased since 2016, and rates among catheter patients remain highest compared to patients with fistulas or grafts. However, unsupported IVAS rates did not change, and the proportion of facilities reporting an unsupported IVAS increased annually. Targeted efforts to engage facilities with unsupported IVAS may help improve accurate reporting and prescribing practices.
Background: Improving antibiotic use is a key strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance. Here, we have described national outpatient antibiotic prescribing trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. We compared the monthly numbers of prescriptions in 2020–2021 to those from 2019 to describe the impact of the pandemic and to highlight areas for improvement. Methods: We used the IQVIA National Prescription Audit (NPA) data set to identify all antibiotic prescriptions dispensed from US retail pharmacies during January 2019–October 2021. We calculated the percentage change in volume of prescriptions for each month during the pandemic (beginning in March 2020) compared to the baseline (defined as the corresponding month in 2019). Data were characterized by patient age group (0–19 years, 20–64 years, ≥65 years) and antibiotic class and drug, including azithromycin. Results: Antibiotic prescriptions were lower than baseline during March 2020–June 2021. The greatest decrease in antibiotic prescribing volume occurred in May 2020 (40.0% lower than May 2019) (Fig. 1), with the greatest decreases among children 0–19 years of age. However, prescribing was similar to baseline levels in July–August 2021 (Fig. 1). Specifically, azithromycin prescribing exceeded the 2019 baseline by 11.0% in July and further to a 34.5% increase in August 2021 (Fig. 2). Increases in azithromycin prescribing in August 2021 were observed across all age groups: 20–64 years (46.9% above baseline), ≥65 years (25.3% above baseline), and children 0–19 years (7.8% above baseline). Conclusions: Antibiotic prescribing volume was lower during 2020 and the first half of 2021 compared to the corresponding months in 2019. Decreases in outpatient antibiotic prescriptions during the pandemic likely reflect decreased utilization of outpatient healthcare and decreased transmission of non–COVID-19 infections secondary to nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, masking, social distancing, school closures). However, outpatient antibiotic prescribing levels in general, and azithromycin prescribing in particular, approached or exceeded prepandemic levels in July and August 2021. Ongoing surveillance and sustained outpatient antibiotic stewardship efforts are needed to optimize antibiotic use during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Using a machine-learning model, we examined drivers of antibiotic prescribing for antibiotic-inappropriate acute respiratory illnesses in a large US claims data set. Antibiotics were prescribed in 11% of the 42 million visits in our sample. The model identified outpatient setting type, patient age mix, and state as top drivers of prescribing.
Antibiotics are frequently prescribed in nursing homes; national data describing facility-level antibiotic use are lacking. The objective of this analysis was to describe variability in antibiotic use in nursing homes across the United States using electronic health record orders.
A retrospective cohort study of antibiotic orders for 309,884 residents in 1,664 US nursing homes in 2016 were included in the analysis. Antibiotic use rates were calculated as antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 resident days and were compared by type of stay (short stay ≤100 days vs long stay >100 days). Prescribing indications and the duration of nursing home-initiated antibiotic orders were described. Facility-level correlations of antibiotic use, adjusting for resident health and facility characteristics, were assessed using multivariate linear regression models.
In 2016, 54% of residents received at least 1 systemic antibiotic. The overall rate of antibiotic use was 88 DOT per 1,000 resident days. The 3 most common antibiotic classes prescribed were fluoroquinolones (18%), cephalosporins (18%), and urinary anti-infectives (9%). Antibiotics were most frequently prescribed for urinary tract infections, and the median duration of an antibiotic course was 7 days (interquartile range, 5–10). Higher facility antibiotic use rates correlated positively with higher proportions of short-stay residents, for-profit ownership, residents with low cognitive performance, and having at least 1 resident on a ventilator. Available facility-level characteristics only predicted a small proportion of variability observed (Model R2 version 0.24 software).
Using electronic health record orders, variability was found among US nursing-home antibiotic prescribing practices, highlighting potential opportunities for targeted improvement of prescribing practices.
Background: Antibiotics are frequently prescribed in nursing homes, often inappropriately. Data sources are needed to facilitate measurement and reporting of antibiotic use to inform antibiotic stewardship efforts. Previous analyses have shown that the type of nursing-home stay, that is, short stay (<100 days), is a strong predictor of high antibiotic use compared to longer nursing-home stays. The study objective was to compare 2 different data sources, electronic health record (EHR) and long-term care (LTC) pharmacy data, for surveillance of antibiotic use and type of nursing-home stay. Methods: EHR and pharmacy data during 2017 were included from 1,933 and 1,348 US-based nursing homes, respectively. We compared data elements available in each data source for antibiotic use reporting. In each data set, we attempted to describe antibiotic use as the proportion of residents on an antibiotic, days-of-therapy (DOT) per 1,000 resident days (RD), and distribution of antibiotic course duration, overall and at the facility level. Facility proportion of short-stay and long-stay (>100 days) nursing-home residents were calculated using admission dates and census data in the EHR data set and a payor variable in the pharmacy data set (Figure 1). The 2 data sources also provided antibiotic characteristics, including antibiotic class, agent, and route of administration. The deidentified nature of facility data prevented direct comparison of antibiotic use measures between facilities. Results: The EHR and pharmacy data sets contained 381,382 and 326,713 residents, respectively (Table 1). Within the EHR, 51% of residents were prescribed an antibiotic in 2017, at a median rate of 77 DOT per 1,000 RD. In the LTC pharmacy, 46% of residents were prescribed an antibiotic at a median rate of 79 DOT per 1,000 RD (Table 1). Short-stay residents contributed a smaller proportion of total RDs in the EHR relative to the pharmacy cohort (21% vs 50%, respectively). Conclusions: Nursing-home antibiotic use data obtained from EHR and pharmacy vendors can be used for calculating antibiotic use measures, which is important for antibiotic use reporting and facility-level tracking to identify opportunities for improving prescribing practices and provide facility-level benchmarks. Further validation of both data sources in the same facilities is needed to compare antibiotic use rates and to determine the most appropriate proxy for type of nursing-home stay for facility-level risk adjustment of antibiotic use rates.
To assess the national uptake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) core elements of antibiotic stewardship in nursing homes from 2016 to 2018 and the effect of infection prevention and control (IPC) hours on the implementation of the core elements.
Retrospective, repeated cross-sectional analysis.
US nursing homes.
We used the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Long-Term Care Facility Component annual surveys from 2016 to 2018 to assess nursing home characteristics and percent implementation of the core elements. We used log-binomial regression models to estimate the association between weekly IPC hours and the implementation of all 7 core elements while controlling for confounding by facility characteristics.
We included 7,506 surveys from 2016 to 2018. In 2018, 71% of nursing homes reported implementation of all 7 core elements, a 28% increase from 2016. The greatest increases in implementation from 2016 to 2018 were in education (19%), reporting (18%), and drug expertise (15%). In 2018, 71% of nursing homes reported pharmacist involvement in improving antibiotic use, an increase of 27% since 2016. Nursing homes that reported at least 20 hours of IPC activity per week were 14% (95% confidence interval, 7%–20%) more likely to implement all 7 core elements when controlling for facility ownership and affiliation.
Nursing homes reported substantial progress in antibiotic stewardship implementation from 2016 to 2018. Improvements in access to drug expertise, education, and reporting antibiotic use may reflect increased stewardship awareness and resource use among nursing home providers under new regulatory requirements. Nursing home stewardship programs may benefit from increased IPC staff hours.
We describe differences between urinary tract infection treatment and events reported by nursing homes enrolled in the National Healthcare Safety Network. In 2017, almost 4 times as many antibiotic starts as infection events were reported, suggesting that opportunities exist for antibiotic stewardship and improvement of urinary tract infection reporting.