During an 11-week period, all antibiotic usage on a 113-bed medical teaching service was reviewed concurrently in weekly sessions between house staff and a review team. Recommendations for change, based on accepted criteria, were communicated by the house officer to the attending physician. In one-half of the patients no change was suggested; in one-third, a recommended change was made; and in only one-sixth was a recommendation not followed. Cost savings were conservatively estimated to approach $10,000 in this pilot study; this extrapolates to almost $300,000 per year for the 714-bed medical center, or more than 18% of the antibiotic expenditures.
This program achieves its objective in a nonthreatening, noncontrolling manner, provides continuing education, and contributes to improved patient care.