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Patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) aerosolize severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) via respiratory efforts, expose, and possibly infect healthcare personnel (HCP). To prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 HCP have been required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during patient care. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, face shields were used as an approach to control HCP exposure to SARS-CoV-2, including eye protection.
An MS2 bacteriophage was used as a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 and was aerosolized using a coughing machine. A simulated HCP wearing a disposable plastic face shield was placed 0.41 m (16 inches) away from the coughing machine. The aerosolized virus was sampled using SKC biosamplers on the inside (near the mouth of the simulated HCP) and the outside of the face shield. The aerosolized virus collected by the SKC Biosampler was analyzed using a viability assay. Optical particle counters (OPCs) were placed next to the biosamplers to measure the particle concentration.
There was a statistically significant reduction (P < .0006) in viable virus concentration on the inside of the face shield compared to the outside of the face shield. The particle concentration was significantly lower on the inside of the face shield compared to the outside of the face shield for 12 of the 16 particle sizes measured (P < .05).
Reductions in virus and particle concentrations were observed on the inside of the face shield; however, viable virus was measured on the inside of the face shield, in the breathing zone of the HCP. Therefore, other exposure control methods need to be used to prevent transmission from virus aerosol.
To evaluate the impact of a multicenter, try automated dashboard on ASP activities and its acceptance among ASP leaders.
Frontline stewards were asked to participate in semi-structured interviews before and after implementation of a web-based ASP information dashboard providing risk-adjusted benchmarking, longitudinal trends, and analysis of antimicrobial usage patterns at each facility.
The study was performed at Iowa City VA Health Care System.
ASP team members from nine medical centers in the VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN 23).
Semi-structured interviews were conducted pre- and post-implementation, with interview guides informed by clinical experiences and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Participants evaluated the dashboard’s ease of use, applicability to ongoing ASP activities, perceived validity and reliability, and relative advantage over other ASP monitoring systems.
Compared to established stewardship data collection and reporting methods, participants found the dashboard more intuitive and accessible, allowing them to reduce dependence on other systems and staff to obtain and share data. Standardized and risk-adjusted rankings were largely accepted as a valuable benchmarking method; however, participants felt their facility’s characteristics significantly influenced the rankings’ validity. Participants recognized staffing, training, and uncertainty with using the dashboard as an intervention tool as barriers to consistent and comprehensive dashboard implementation.
Participants generally accepted the dashboard’s risk-adjusted metrics and appreciated its usability. While creating automated tools to rigorously benchmark antimicrobial use across hospitals can be helpful, the displayed metrics require further validation, and the longitudinal utility of the dashboard warrants additional study.
We assessed the implementation of telehealth-supported stewardship activities in acute-care units and long-term care (LTC) units in Veterans’ Administration medical centers (VAMCs).
Before-and-after, quasi-experimental implementation effectiveness study with a baseline period (2019–2020) and an intervention period (2021).
The study was conducted in 3 VAMCs without onsite infectious disease (ID) support.
The study included inpatient providers at participating sites who prescribe antibiotics.
During 2021, an ID physician met virtually 3 times per week with the stewardship pharmacist at each participating VAMC to review patients on antibiotics in acute-care units and LTC units. Real-time feedback on prescribing antibiotics was given to providers. Additional implementation strategies included stakeholder engagement, education, and quality monitoring.
The reach–effectiveness–adoption–implementation–maintenance (RE-AIM) framework was used for program evaluation. The primary outcome of effectiveness was antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present aggregated across all 3 sites. An interrupted time-series analysis was performed to compare this rate during the intervention and baseline periods. Electronic surveys, periodic reflections, and semistructured interviews were used to assess other RE-AIM outcomes.
The telehealth program reviewed 502 unique patients and made 681 recommendations to 24 providers; 77% of recommendations were accepted. After program initiation, antibiotic DOT immediately decreased in the LTC units (−30%; P < .01) without a significant immediate change in the acute-care units (+16%; P = .22); thereafter DOT remained stable in both settings. Providers generally appreciated feedback and collaborative discussions.
The implementation of our telehealth program was associated with reductions in antibiotic use in the LTC units but not in the smaller acute-care units. Overall, providers perceived the intervention as acceptable. Wider implementation of telehealth-supported stewardship activities may achieve reductions in antibiotic use.
To determine risk factors for the development of long coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthcare personnel (HCP).
We conducted a case–control study among HCP who had confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 working in a Brazilian healthcare system between March 1, 2020, and July 15, 2022. Cases were defined as those having long COVID according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition. Controls were defined as HCP who had documented COVID-19 but did not develop long COVID. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the association between exposure variables and long COVID during 180 days of follow-up.
Of 7,051 HCP diagnosed with COVID-19, 1,933 (27.4%) who developed long COVID were compared to 5,118 (72.6%) who did not. The majority of those with long COVID (51.8%) had 3 or more symptoms. Factors associated with the development of long COVID were female sex (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.05–1.39), age (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00–1.02), and 2 or more SARS-CoV-2 infections (OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.07–1.50). Those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 δ (delta) variant (OR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.17–0.50) or the SARS-CoV-2 o (omicron) variant (OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.30–0.78), and those receiving 4 COVID-19 vaccine doses prior to infection (OR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.01–0.19) were significantly less likely to develop long COVID.
Long COVID can be prevalent among HCP. Acquiring >1 SARS-CoV-2 infection was a major risk factor for long COVID, while maintenance of immunity via vaccination was highly protective.
The impact of hurricane-related flooding on infectious diseases in the US is not well understood. Using geocoded electronic health records for 62,762 veterans living in North Carolina counties impacted by Hurricane Matthew coupled with flood maps, we explore the impact of hurricane and flood exposure on infectious outcomes in outpatient settings and emergency departments as well as antimicrobial prescribing. Declines in outpatient visits and antimicrobial prescribing are observed in weeks 0-2 following the hurricane as compared with the baseline period and the year prior, while increases in antimicrobial prescribing are observed 3+ weeks following the hurricane. Taken together, hurricane and flood exposure appear to have had minor impacts on infectious outcomes in North Carolina veterans, not resulting in large increases in infections or antimicrobial prescribing
Even though antimicrobial days of therapy did not significantly decrease during a period of robust stewardship activities at our center, we detected a significant downward trend in antimicrobial spectrum, as measured by days of antibiotic spectrum coverage (DASC). The DASC metric may help more broadly monitor the effect of stewardship activities.
Although multiple studies have revealed that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines can reduce COVID-19–related outcomes, little is known about their impact on post–COVID-19 conditions. We performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against post–COVID-19 conditions (ie, long COVID).
We searched PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus, and Web of Science from December 1, 2019, to April 27, 2022, for studies evaluating COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against post–COVID-19 conditions among individuals who received at least 1 dose of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Janssen vaccine. A post–COVID-19 condition was defined as any symptom that was present 3 or more weeks after having COVID-19. Editorials, commentaries, reviews, study protocols, and studies in the pediatric population were excluded. We calculated the pooled diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) for post–COVID-19 conditions between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated as 100% × (1 − DOR).
In total, 10 studies with 1,600,830 individuals evaluated the effect of vaccination on post–COVID-19 conditions, of which 6 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled DOR for post–COVID-19 conditions among individuals vaccinated with at least 1 dose was 0.708 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.692–0.725) with an estimated vaccine effectiveness of 29.2% (95% CI, 27.5%–30.8%). The vaccine effectiveness was 35.3% (95% CI, 32.3%–38.1%) among those who received the COVID-19 vaccine before having COVID-19, and 27.4% (95% CI, 25.4%–29.3%) among those who received it after having COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination both before and after having COVID-19 significantly decreased post–COVID-19 conditions for the circulating variants during the study period although vaccine effectiveness was low.
The optimal metric for outpatient antimicrobial stewardship has not been well defined. The number of antibiotic prescriptions per clinic visit does not account for the therapeutic duration. We found only moderate association between prescription-based metrics and days-supplied–based metrics. Outpatient antibiotic consumption metrics should incorporate the duration of therapy.
Contaminated surfaces in healthcare settings contribute to the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. Adequate environmental cleaning is important for preventing the transmission of important pathogens and reducing healthcare-associated infections. However, effective cleaning practices vary considerably. We examined environmental management services (EMS) staff experiences and perceptions surrounding environmental cleaning to describe perceived challenges and ideas to promote an effective environmental services program.
Frontline EMS staff.
From January to June 2019, we conducted individual semistructured interviews with key stakeholders (ie, EMS staff) at 3 facilities within the Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System. We used the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework (ie, people, environment, organization, tasks, tools) to guide this study. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content.
In total, 13 EMS staff and supervisors were interviewed. A predominant theme that emerged were the challenges EMS staff saw as hindering their ability to be effective at their jobs. EMS staff interviewed felt they understand their job requirements and are dedicated to their work; however, they described challenges related to feeling undervalued and staffing issues.
EMS staff play a critical role in infection prevention in healthcare settings. However, some do not believe their role is recognized or valued by the larger healthcare team and leadership. EMS staff provided ideas for improving feelings of value and job satisfaction, including higher pay, opportunities for certifications and advancement, as well as collaboration or integration with the larger healthcare team. Healthcare organizations should focus on utilizing these suggestions to improve the EMS work climate.
To investigate factors that influence antibiotic prescribing decisions, we interviewed 49 antibiotic stewardship champions and stakeholders across 15 hospitals. We conducted thematic analysis and subcoding of decisional factors. We identified 31 factors that influence antibiotic prescribing decisions. These factors may help stewardship programs identify educational targets and design more effective interventions.
To describe national trends in testing and detection of carbapenemases
produced by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and associate
testing with culture and facility characteristics.
Retrospective cohort study.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs medical centers (VAMCs).
Patients seen at VAMCs between 2013 and 2018 with cultures positive for CRE,
defined by national VA guidelines.
Microbiology and clinical data were extracted from national VA data sets.
Carbapenemase testing was summarized using descriptive statistics.
Characteristics associated with carbapenemase testing were assessed with
Of 5,778 standard cultures that grew CRE, 1,905 (33.0%) had evidence of
molecular or phenotypic carbapenemase testing and 1,603 (84.1%) of these had
carbapenemases detected. Among these cultures confirmed as
carbapenemase-producing CRE, 1,053 (65.7%) had molecular testing for
≥1 gene. Almost all testing included KPC (n = 1,047, 99.4%), with KPC
detected in 914 of 1,047 (87.3%) cultures. Testing and detection of other
enzymes was less frequent. Carbapenemase testing increased over the study
period from 23.5% of CRE cultures in 2013 to 58.9% in 2018. The South US
Census region (38.6%) and the Northeast (37.2%) region had the highest
proportion of CRE cultures with carbapenemase testing. High complexity (vs
low) and urban (vs rural) facilities were significantly associated with
carbapenemase testing (P < .0001).
Between 2013 and 2018, carbapenemase testing and detection increased in the
VA, largely reflecting increased testing and detection of KPC. Surveillance
of other carbapenemases is important due to global spread and increasing
antibiotic resistance. Efforts supporting the expansion of carbapenemase
testing to low-complexity, rural healthcare facilities and standardization
of reporting of carbapenemase testing are needed.
Background: Antimicrobials are frequently used during end-of-life care and may be prescribed without a clear clinical indication. Overuse of antimicrobials is a major public health concern because of the development of multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs). Antimicrobial stewardship programs are associated with reductions in antibiotic resistance and antibiotic-associated adverse events. We sought to identify and describe opportunities to successfully incorporate stewardship strategies into end-of-life care. Methods: We completed semistructured interviews with 15 healthcare providers at 2 VA medical centers, 1 inpatient setting and 1 long-term care setting. Interviews were conducted via telephone between November 2020 and June 2021 and covered topics related to antibiotic prescribing for hospice and palliative-care patients, including how to improve antimicrobial stewardship during the end-of-life period. We targeted healthcare providers who are involved in prescribing antibiotics during the end-of-life period, including hospitalists, infectious disease physicians, palliative care and hospice physicians, and pharmacists. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using consensus-based inductive and deductive coding. Results: End-of-life care, particularly hospice care, was described as an underutilized resource for patients, who are often enrolled in their final days of life rather than earlier in the dying process. Even at facilities with established antimicrobial stewardship programs, healthcare providers interviewed believed that opportunities for antimicrobial stewardship in the hospice and palliative care settings were missed. Recommendations for how stewardship should be incorporated in end-of-life care included receiving feedback on antimicrobial prescribing, increasing pharmacist involvement in prescribing decisions, and targeted education for providers on end-of-life care, including the value of shared decision making with patients around antibiotic use. Conclusions: Improved antibiotic prescribing during end-of-life care is critical in the effort to combat antimicrobial resistance. Healthcare providers discussed antimicrobial stewardship activities during end-of-life patient care as a potential avenue to improve appropriate antibiotic prescribing. Future research should evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of incorporating these strategies into end-of-life patient care.
Background: Antibiotic use during end-of-life (EOL) care is an increasingly important target for antimicrobial stewardship given the high prevalence of antibiotic use in this setting with limited evidence on safety and effectiveness to guide antibiotic decision making. We estimated antibiotic use during the last 6 months of life for patients under hospice or palliative care, and we identified potential targets (ie time points) during the EOL period when antimicrobial stewardship interventions could be targeted for maximal benefit. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of nationwide Veterans’ Affairs (VA) patients, 18 years and older who died between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2019, and who had been hospitalized within 6 months prior to death. Data from the VA’s integrated electronic medical record (EMR) were collected including demographics, comorbid conditions, and duration of inpatient antibiotics administered, along with outpatient antibiotics dispensed. A propensity-score matched-cohort analysis was conducted to compare antibiotic use between patients placed into palliative care or hospice matched to patients not receiving palliative care or hospice care. Repeated measures ANOVA and repeated measures linear regression methods were used to analyze difference in difference (D-I-D) of days of therapy (DOT) between the 2 cohorts. Results: There were 251,822 patients in the cohort, including 23,746 in hospice care, 89,768 in palliative care, and 138,308 without palliative or hospice care. The median days from last discharge to death was 9 days. The most common comorbidities were chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (50%), malignancy (46%), and diabetes mellitus (43%). Overall, 18,296 (77%) of 23,746 hospice patients, and 71,812 (80%) of 89,768 palliative care patients received at least 1 antibiotic, whereas 95,167 (69%) of 138,308 who were not placed in hospice or did not receive palliative care received antibiotics. In the primary matched cohort analysis that compared patients placed into hospice or palliative care to propensity-score matched controls, entry into palliative care was associated with a 11% absolute increase in antibiotic prescribing, and entry into hospice was associated with a 4% absolute increase during the 7–14 days after entry versus the 7–14 days before entry (Fig. 1). The stratified cohorts had very similar balanced covariates as the overall cohort. Conclusions: In our large cohort study, we observed that patients receiving EOL care had high levels of antibiotic exposure across VA population, particularly on entry to hospice or during admissions when they received palliative care consultation. Future studies are needed to identify the optimal EOL strategies for collaboration between antimicrobial stewardship and palliative care.
Background: Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are advised to audit antimicrobial consumption as a metric to feedback to clinicians. However, many ASPs lack the tools necessary for appropriate risk adjustment and standardized data collection, which are critical for peer-program benchmarking. We evaluated the impact of the dashboard deployment that displays these metrics and its acceptance among ASP members and antimicrobial prescribers. Materials/methods: We conducted semistructured interviews of ASP stewards and antimicrobial prescribers before and after implementation of a web-based ASP information dashboard (Fig. 1) implemented in the VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN23). The dashboard provides risk-adjusted benchmarking, longitudinal trends, and analysis of antimicrobial usage patterns at each facility. Risk-adjusted benchmarking was based on an observed-to-expected comparison of antimicrobial days of therapy at each facility, after adjusting for differences in patient case mix and facility-level variables. Respondents were asked to evaluate several aspects of the dashboard, including its ease of use, applicability to ongoing ASP activities, perceived validity and reliability, and advantages compared to other ASP monitoring systems. All interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. The analysis was conducted using MaxQDA 2020.4 and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) constructs. Results: We completed 4 preimplementation interviews and 11 postimplementation interviews with ASP champions and antimicrobial prescribers from 6 medical centers. We derived 4 key themes from the data that map onto CFIR constructs. These themes were interconnected so that implementation of the dashboard (ie, adapting and adopting) was influenced by respondents’ perception of a facility’s size, patient population, and priority placed on stewardship (ie, structural and cultural context), the availability of dedicated stewardship staff and training needed to implement the dashboard (ie, resources needed), and how the dashboard compared to established stewardship activities (ie, relative advantage). ASP champions and antimicrobial prescribers indicated that dashboard metrics were useful for identifying antimicrobial usage and for comparing metrics among similar facilities. Respondents also specified barriers to acceptance of the risk-adjusted metric, such as disagreement regarding how antimicrobials were grouped by the current NHSN protocol, uncertainty of factors involved in risk adjustments, and difficulty developing a clear interpretation of hospital rankings. Conclusions: Given the limited resources for antimicrobial stewardship personnel, automated, risk-adjusted, antimicrobial-use dashboards provided by ASPs are an attractive method to both facilitate compliance and improve efficiency. To increase the uptake of surveillance systems in antimicrobial stewardship, our study highlights the need for clear descriptions of methods and metrics.
Background: Avoiding unnecessary antipseudomonal coverage is 1 of the most common targets for antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs), but little is known about the magnitude of facility-level variation in antipseudomonal agent utilization. We aimed to describe the variability in the use of antipseudomonal agents across inpatient settings within a nationwide integrated healthcare system. Method: We analyzed the data from a retrospective cohort of patients who were admitted to acute-care hospitals within the VHA system in 2019. We defined antipseudomonal agents as systemic antibiotics with activity against wild-type Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and we evaluated overall and antipseudomonal antibiotic use among 129 hospitals, according to the agents described in the NHSN Antimicrobial Usage and Resistance Module. We calculated each hospital’s overall and antipseudomonal days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present and the proportion of antipseudomonal agent usage among all antibiotics based on DOT at each hospital. Hospital-level variation was assessed by comparing the proportion of total antibiotic consumption accounted for by antipseudomonal agents. Associations between antipseudomonal proportions and overall antibiotic consumption were also assessed. Results: Among 129 VHA hospitals, the median DOT per 1,000 days present for all antibiotics was 434.4 (IQR, 371.9–487.1), and the median antipseudomonal DOT per 1,000 days present was 127.7 (IQR, 99.8–159.6). The median proportion of total antibiotic consumption accounted for by antipseudomonal agents was 30.0% (range, 14.9%–40.7%; IQR, 26.4%–34.4%) (Fig. 1). We detected only a weak correlation between overall antibiotic consumption and antipseudomonal proportion (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.396), which suggests that hospitals with higher total antibiotic consumption were not necessarily using more antipseudomonal agents. In a stratified analysis, there was more prominent hospital-level variability in surgical specialties than medical specialties (Fig. 2). Conclusions: We detected high hospital-level variability in the consumption and proportion of antipseudomonal antibiotics among an integrated healthcare system. Although it is plausible that these variabilities originated from case-mix differences among hospitals, including differing rates of P. aeruginosa infections, it may also highlight opportunities for reducing antipseudomonal antibiotic utilization, especially among surgical specialties. Further studies are needed to evaluate the contribution of modifiable patient- and facility-level factors to this variability.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected healthcare delivery systems in the United States. However, little is known about its impact on overall antimicrobial consumption, especially in outpatient settings. We assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on antimicrobial consumption in both outpatient and inpatient (acute-care, long-term care, and mental health) settings in the Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) during the 2 years before and after the start of the pandemic. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study for all patients who received care within the VHA from January 2018 to December 2021. We used antibiotic days as the primary outcome measure (days of therapy for inpatient settings and dispensed days supply for outpatient settings), and we obtained data for antimicrobial consumption from the VHA Corporate Data Warehouse. Antibiotics were categorized into classes by the NHSN protocol and included only systemic agents (oral and parenteral). We defined 2018–2019 as the prepandemic period and 2020–2021 as the pandemic period. We compared the relative and absolute difference in antibiotic consumption between the 2 periods. Results: Across all periods, 8.3 million patients received care in the VHA, and an average of 28,709,680 antibiotic days were prescribed per year. Overall, 92.9% of all antibiotic days were outpatient and 7.1% were inpatient. Total antibiotic days during the pandemic period decreased by 12.4% compared to the prepandemic period (pandemic period: 53,613,840 and prepandemic period: 61,224,878). This reduction was primarily driven by reductions in outpatient settings (relative reduction: 12.7% and absolute reduction: 7,254,880 antibiotic days over 2 years), but antibiotic days in inpatient settings decreased more modestly (relative reduction: 8.4% and absolute reduction: 356,158 antibiotic days over 2 years) (Fig. 1). When frequently prescribed antimicrobials were categorized by classes, fluoroquinolones and lincosamides showed the largest decreases (fluoroquinolones: 29.2% reduction and lincosamides: 27.2% reduction). Tetracyclines and sulfamethoxazole–trimethoprim had the smallest reductions (5.2% and 11.2%, respectively). Conclusions: Compared to the prepandemic period, the pandemic was associated with a substantial reduction in overall antibiotic consumption, especially in outpatient settings, which accounted for 95% of the overall reduction despite being outside the domain of most traditional antibiotic stewardship programs. The impact of the pandemic was most modest in the use of tetracyclines and trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole and was most prominent in the use of fluoroquinolones and lincosamides. Further studies are required to improve the causal inference between the COVID-19 pandemic and this reduction in antibiotic consumption, as well as its impact on patient outcomes.
Temporal overlap of the Atlantic hurricane season and seasonal influenza vaccine rollout has the potential to result in delays or disruptions of vaccination campaigns. We documented seasonal influenza vaccination behavior over a 5-year period and explored associations between flooding following Hurricane Harvey and timing and uptake of vaccines, as well as how the impacts of Hurricane Harvey on vaccination vary by race, wealth, and rurality.
Retrospective cohort analysis.
Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Active users of the Veterans’ Health Administration in 2017.
We used geocoded residential address data to assess flood exposure status following Hurricane Harvey. Days to receipt of seasonal influenza vaccines were calculated for each year from 2014 to 2019. Proportional hazards models were used to determine how likelihood of vaccination varied according to flood status as well as the race, wealth, and rural–urban residence of patients.
The year of Hurricane Harvey was associated with a median delay of 2 weeks to vaccination and lower overall vaccination than in prior years. Residential status in flooded areas was associated with lower hazards of influenza vaccination in all years. White patients had higher proportional hazards of influenza vaccination than non-White patients, though this attenuated to 6.39% (hazard ratio [HR], 1.0639; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.034–1.095) in the hurricane. year.
Receipt of seasonal influenza vaccination following regional exposure to the effects of Hurricane Harvey was delayed among US veterans. White, non–low-income, and rural patients had higher likelihood of vaccination in all years of the study, but these gaps narrowed during the hurricane year.
We evaluated barriers and facilitators to patient adherence with a bundled intervention including chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing and decolonizing Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriers in a real-world setting. Survey data identified 85.5% adherence with home use of CHG as directed and 52.9% adherence with home use of mupirocin as directed.
To evaluate the frequency of antibiotic prescribing for common infections via telemedicine compared to face-to-face visits.
Systematic literature review and meta-analysis.
We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Embase (Elsevier platform) and Cochrane CENTRAL to identify studies comparing frequency of antibiotic prescribing via telemedicine and face-to-face visits without restrictions by publish dates or language used. We conducted meta-analyses of 5 infections: sinusitis, pharyngitis, otitis media, upper respiratory infection (URI) and urinary tract infection (UTI). Random-effect models were used to obtain pooled odds ratios (ORs). Heterogeneity was evaluated with I2 estimation and the Cochran Q statistic test.
Among 3,106 studies screened, 23 studies (1 randomized control study, 22 observational studies) were included in the systematic literature review. Most of the studies (21 of 23) were conducted in the United States. Studies were substantially heterogenous, but stratified analyses revealed that providers prescribed antibiotics more frequently via telemedicine for otitis media (pooled odds ratio [OR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–1.52; I2 = 31%) and pharyngitis (pooled OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.01–1.33; I2 = 0%). We detected no significant difference in the frequencies of antibiotic prescribing for sinusitis (pooled OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.70–1.06; I2 = 91%), URI (pooled OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.59–2.39; I2 = 100%), or UTI (pooled OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 0.88–7.46; I2 = 91%).
Telemedicine visits for otitis media and pharyngitis were associated with higher rates of antibiotic prescribing. The interpretation of these findings requires caution due to substantial heterogeneity among available studies. Large-scale, well-designed studies with comprehensive assessment of antibiotic prescribing for common outpatient infections comparing telemedicine and face-to-face visits are needed to validate our findings.
Group Name: VHA Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Prevention of Antimicrobial Resistance (CASPAR) Background: Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are advised to measure antimicrobial consumption as a metric for audit and feedback. However, most ASPs lack the tools necessary for appropriate risk adjustment and standardized data collection, which are critical for peer-program benchmarking. We created a system that automatically extracts antimicrobial use data and patient-level factors for risk-adjustment and a dashboard to present risk-adjusted benchmarking metrics for ASP within the Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA). Methods: We built a system to extract patient-level data for antimicrobial use, procedures, demographics, and comorbidities for acute inpatient and long-term care units at all VHA hospitals utilizing the VHA’s Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW). We built baseline negative binomial regression models to perform risk-adjustments based on patient- and unit-level factors using records dated between October 2016 and September 2018. These models were then leveraged both retrospectively and prospectively to calculate observed-to-expected ratios of antimicrobial use for each hospital and for specific units within each hospital. Data transformation and applications of risk-adjustment models were automatically performed within the CDW database server, followed by monthly scheduled data transfer from the CDW to the Microsoft Power BI server for interactive data visualization. Frontline antimicrobial stewards at 10 VHA hospitals participated in the project as pilot users. Results: Separate baseline risk-adjustment models to predict days of therapy (DOT) for all antibacterial agents were created for acute-care and long-term care units based on 15,941,972 patient days and 3,011,788 DOT between October 2016 and September 2018 at 134 VHA hospitals. Risk adjustment models include month, unit types (eg, intensive care unit [ICU] vs non-ICU for acute care), specialty, age, gender, comorbidities (50 and 30 factors for acute care and long-term care, respectively), and preceding procedures (45 and 24 procedures for acute care and long-term care, respectively). We created additional models for each antimicrobial category based on National Healthcare Safety Network definitions. For each hospital, risk-adjusted benchmarking metrics and a monthly ranking within the VHA system were visualized and presented to end users through the dashboard (an example screenshot in Figure 1). Conclusions: Developing an automated surveillance system for antimicrobial consumption and risk-adjustment benchmarking using an electronic medical record data warehouse is feasible and can potentially provide valuable tools for ASPs, especially at hospitals with no or limited local informatics expertise. Future efforts will evaluate the effectiveness of dashboards in these settings.