Background: Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients. Probiotics have been studied as a measure to prevent CDI. Timely probiotic administration to at-risk patients receiving systemic antimicrobials presents significant challenges. We sought to determine optimal implementation methods to administer probiotics to all adult inpatients aged 55 years receiving a course of systemic antimicrobials across an entire health region. Methods: Using a randomized stepped-wedge design across 4 acute-care hospitals (n = 2,490 beds), the probiotic Bio-K+ was prescribed daily to patients receiving systemic antimicrobials and was continued for 5 days after antimicrobial discontinuation. Focus groups and interviews were conducted to identify barriers, and the implementation strategy was adapted to address the key identified barriers. The implementation strategy included clinical decision support involving a linked flag on antibiotic ordering and a 1-click order entry within the electronic medical record (EMR), provider and patient education (written/videos/in-person), and local site champions. Protocol adherence was measured by tracking the number of patients on therapeutic antimicrobials that received BioK+ based on the bedside nursing EMR medication administration records. Adherence rates were sorted by hospital and unit in 48- and 72-hour intervals with recording of percentile distribution of time (days) to receipt of the first antimicrobial. Results: In total, 340 education sessions with >1,800 key stakeholders occurred before and during implementation across the 4 involved hospitals. The overall adherence of probiotic ordering for wards with antimicrobial orders was 78% and 80% at 48 and 72 hours, respectively over 72 patient months. Individual hospital adherence rates varied between 77% and 80% at 48 hours and between 79% and 83% at 72 hours. Of 246,144 scheduled probiotic orders, 94% were administered at the bedside within a median of 0.61 days (75th percentile, 0.88), 0.47 days (75th percentile, 0.86), 0.71 days (75th percentile, 0.92) and 0.67 days (75th percentile, 0.93), respectively, at the 4 sites after receipt of first antimicrobial. The key themes from the focus groups emphasized the usefulness of the linked flag alert for probiotics on antibiotic ordering, the ease of the EMR 1-click order entry, and the importance of the education sessions. Conclusions: Electronic clinical decision support, education, and local champion support achieved a high implementation rate consistent across all sites. Use of a 1-click order entry in the EMR was considered a key component of the success of the implementation and should be considered for any implementation strategy for a stewardship initiative. Achieving high prescribing adherence allows more precision in evaluating the effectiveness of the probiotic strategy.
Funding: Partnerships for Research and Innovation in the Health System, Alberta Innovates/Health Solutions Funding: Award