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This article explores the utility of implementation science (IS) as a method to promote the effective uptake of antimicrobial stewardship processes. Elements of IS can be readily incorporated into QI work and used as a platform to extend stewardship reach. As stewards are stretched to do more, IS can be a potential vehicle to ensure that our collective work is impactful, sustainable, and contributes more broadly to clinically relevant improvements.
Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) exist to optimize antibiotic use, reduce selection for antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms, and improve patient outcomes. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is essential to optimal antibiotic use. Because diagnostic testing plays a significant role in diagnosing patients, it has one of the strongest influences on clinician antibiotic prescribing behaviors. Diagnostic stewardship, consequently, has emerged to improve clinician diagnostic testing and test result interpretation. Antimicrobial stewardship and diagnostic stewardship share common goals and are synergistic when used together. Although ASP requires a relationship with clinicians and focuses on person-to-person communication, diagnostic stewardship centers on a relationship with the laboratory and hardwiring testing changes into laboratory processes and the electronic health record. Here, we discuss how diagnostic stewardship can optimize the “Four Moments of Antibiotic Decision Making” created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and work synergistically with ASPs.
To investigate differences in the rate of firstline antibiotic prescribing for common pediatric infections in relation to different socioeconomic statuses and the impact of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) in pediatric urgent-care clinics (PUCs).
Three PUCs within a Midwestern pediatric academic center.
Patients and participants:
Patients aged >60 days and <18 years with acute otitis media, group A streptococcal pharyngitis, community-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infection, or skin and soft-tissue infections who received systemic antibiotics between July 2017 and December 2020. We excluded patients who were transferred, admitted, or had a concomitant diagnosis requiring systemic antibiotics.
We used national guidelines to determine the appropriateness of antibiotic choice in 2 periods: prior to (July 2017–July 2018) and following ASP implementation (August 2018–December 2020). We used multivariable regression analysis to determine the odds ratios of appropriate firstline agent by age, sex, race and ethnicity, language, and insurance type.
The study included 34,603 encounters. Prior to ASP implementation in August 2018, female patients, Black non-Hispanic children, those >2 years of age, and those who self-paid had higher odds of receiving recommended firstline antibiotics for all diagnoses compared to male patients, children of other races and ethnicities, other ages, and other insurance types, respectively. Although improvements in prescribing occurred after implementation of our ASP, the difference within the socioeconomic subsets persisted.
We observed socioeconomic differences in firstline antibiotic prescribing for common pediatric infections in the PUCs setting despite implementation of an ASP. Antimicrobial stewardship leaders should consider drivers of these differences when developing improvement initiatives.
To assess current resources, interventions, and obstacles of pediatric outpatient antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASP).
Institutions from the Sharing Antimicrobial Reports for Pediatric Stewardship OutPatient collaborative (SHARPS-OP).
Antimicrobial stewardship leaders from the above institutions.
An investigator-developed survey was deployed online in September 2020 to antimicrobial stewardship leaders in SHARPS-OP institutions. The survey was divided into 4 sections: (1) basic information, (2) status of pediatric outpatient ASP in the institutions including financial support, (3) outpatient ASP interventions undertaken by the institutions, and (4) needs and SHARPS-OP collaborative goals.
Of 56 invited institutions, 45 participated, achieving an 80% response rate. Only 5 sites (11%) had allocated financial support for an outpatient ASP, compared to 42 (95.6%) for their inpatient ASP. The most widely used outpatient ASP interventions included antimicrobial guidance (57.8%), education (46.7%), and quality improvement projects (37.8%). Time was identified as the biggest barrier to expanding outpatient ASPs (91.1%), followed by financial support (53.3%), development of meaningful reports (51.1%), and administrative support (44.4%). Important goals of the collaborative included seeking learning opportunities and developing clear metrics for pediatric outpatient ASP benchmarking. Program needs included securing operational support (35.8%) and strengthening data analysis (31.6%).
Very few pediatric institutions with robust inpatient ASPs have devoted time and financial support to advance outpatient efforts. To promote appropriate antibiotic prescribing in the outpatient arena, time and resource funding by administrative leaders are necessary to develop a robust, sustainable stewardship infrastructure.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
To understand hospital policies and practices as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) conducted a survey through the SHEA Research Network (SRN). The survey assessed policies and practices around the optimization of personal protection equipment (PPE), testing, healthcare personnel policies, visitors of COVID-19 patients in relation to procedures, and types of patients. Overall, 69 individual healthcare facilities responded in the United States and internationally, for a 73% response rate.
Nurses view patient safety as an essential component of their work and have reported a general interest in embracing an antibiotic steward role. However, antibiotic stewardship (AS) functions have not been formally integrated into nursing practice despite nurses’ daily involvement in clinical activities that impact antibiotic decisions (e.g., obtaining specimens for cultures, blood drawing for therapeutic drug monitoring). Recommendations to expand AS programs to include bedside nurses are generating support at a national level, yet a practical guidance on how nurses can be involved in AS activities is lacking. In this review, we provide a framework identifying selected practices where nurses can improve antibiotic prescribing practices through appropriate obtainment of Clostridioides difficile tests, appropriate urine culturing practices, optimal antibiotic administration, accurate and detailed documentation of penicillin allergy histories and through the prompting of antibiotic time outs. We identify reported barriers to engagement of nurses in AS and offer potential solutions that include patient safety principles and quality improvement strategies that can be used to mitigate participation barriers. This review will assist AS leaders interested in advancing the contributions of nurses into their AS programs by discussing education, communication, improvement models, and workflow integration enhancements that strengthen systems to support nurses as valued partners in AS efforts.
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