Background: Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is recommended in hospital, postacute, and outpatient settings. Transitions of care (TOC) are important in each of these settings; however, AMS efforts during TOC have been limited. Beginning in October 2018, we sequentially implemented a pharmacist-led multidisciplinary review of oral antimicrobial therapy prescribed at hospital discharge from general and specialty medicine wards across a health system. Pharmacists facilitated data input of discharge prescriptions following early identification and collaborative discussion of patients to be discharged on oral antimicrobials The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of AMS during TOC. Methods: This project was an IRB-approved stepped-wedge, quasi-experimental study in a 5-hospital health system that included hospitalized adults with skin, urinary, intra-abdominal, and respiratory tract infections who had been discharged from general and specialty wards with oral antimicrobials. Patients with complicated infections, neutropenia, or who were transferred from an outside hospital were excluded. The primary end point was optimization of antimicrobial therapy at time of hospital discharge, defined by correct selection, dose, and duration according to institutional guidance. Outcomes were compared before and after the intervention. Results: In total, 800 patients were included: 400 in the preintervention period and 400 in the postintervention period. Among this cohort, 252 (63%) received the intervention by a pharmacist per protocol during TOC. Patients had similar comorbid conditions before and after the intervention. Preintervention patients were more likely to be discharged from community hospitals. Before the intervention, 36% of discharge regimens were considered optimized, compared to 81.5% after the intervention (P < .001); this difference was largely driven by a reduction in patients receiving a duration of therapy beyond the clinical indication (44.5 vs 10%; P < .001). We observed similar clinical resolution, 30-day readmission, and adverse drug events (ADEs) between the pre- and postintervention periods. Postdischarge antimicrobial duration of therapy was reduced from 4 days (range, 3–5) to 3 days (range, 2–4) (P < .001) Severe ADEs occurred more frequently in the preintervention group (9 vs 3.3%; P = .001), which was driven by isolation of multidrug-resistant pathogens (7 vs 2.5%; P = .003) and Clostridioides difficile (1.8 vs 0.5%; P = .094). Patients who received optimal therapy at discharge were less likely to develop an ADE (aOR, 0.530; 95% CI, 0.363–0.773). Conclusions: Implementation of an AMS TOC protocol reduced antimicrobial days, optimized therapy selection, and reduced duration. This intervention was associated with improved safety without compromise of clinical effectiveness. To increase patient safety, AMS programs should target antimicrobial optimization during TOC.
Funding: This work was completed under CDC contract number 200-2018-02928.