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To examine the perspectives of caregivers that are not part of the antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) leadership team (eg, physicians, nurses, and clinical pharmacists), but who interact with ASPs in their role as frontline healthcare workers.
Qualitative semistructured interviews.
The study was conducted in 2 large national healthcare systems including 7 hospitals in the Veterans’ Health Administration and 4 hospitals in Intermountain Healthcare.
We interviewed 157 participants. The current analysis includes 123 nonsteward clinicians: 47 physicians, 26 pharmacists, 29 nurses, and 21 hospital leaders.
Interviewers utilized a semistructured interview guide based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), which was tailored to the participant’s role in the hospital as it related to ASPs. Qualitative analysis was conducted using a codebook based on the CFIR.
We identified 4 primary perspectives regarding ASPs. (1) Non-ASP pharmacists considered antibiotic stewardship activities to be a high priority despite the added burden to work duties: (2) Nurses acknowledged limited understanding of ASP activities or involvement with these programs; (3) Physicians criticized ASPs for their restrictions on clinical autonomy and questioned the ability of antibiotic stewards to make recommendations without the full clinical picture; And (4) hospital leaders expressed support for ASPs and recognized the unique challenges faced by non-ASP clinical staff.
Further understanding these differing perspectives of ASP implementation will inform possible ways to improve ASP implementation across clinical roles.
We explored experiences and perceptions surrounding the Self-Stewardship Time-Out Program (SSTOP) intervention across implementation sites to improve antimicrobial use. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with Antibiotic Stewardship physicians and pharmacists, from which 5 key themes emerged. SSTOP may serve to achieve sustainable promotion of antibiotic use improvements.
As part of a project to implement antimicrobial dashboards at select facilities, we assessed physician attitudes and knowledge regarding antibiotic prescribing.
An online survey explored attitudes toward antimicrobial use and assessed respondents’ management of four clinical scenarios: cellulitis, community-acquired pneumonia, non–catheter-associated asymptomatic bacteriuria, and catheter-associated asymptomatic bacteriuria.
This study was conducted across 16 Veterans’ Affairs (VA) medical centers in 2017.
Physicians working in inpatient settings specializing in infectious diseases (ID), hospital medicine, and non-ID/hospitalist internal medicine.
Scenario responses were scored by assigning +1 for answers most consistent with guidelines, 0 for less guideline-concordant but acceptable answers and −1 for guideline-discordant answers. Scores were normalized to 100% guideline concordant to 100% guideline discordant across all questions within a scenario, and mean scores were calculated across respondents by specialty. Differences in mean score per scenario were tested using analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Overall, 139 physicians completed the survey (19 ID physicians, 62 hospitalists, and 58 other internists). Attitudes were similar across the 3 groups. We detected a significant difference in cellulitis scenario scores (concordance: ID physicians, 76%; hospitalists, 58%; other internists, 52%; P = .0087). Scores were numerically but not significantly different across groups for community-acquired pneumonia (concordance: ID physicians, 75%; hospitalists, 60%; other internists, 56%; P = .0914), for non–catheter-associated asymptomatic bacteriuria (concordance: ID physicians, 65%; hospitalists, 55%; other internists, 40%; P = .322), and for catheter-associated asymptomatic bacteriuria (concordance: ID physicians, 27% concordant; hospitalists, 8% discordant; other internists 13% discordant; P = .12).
Significant differences in performance regarding management of cellulitis and low overall performance regarding asymptomatic bacteriuria point to these conditions as being potentially high-yield targets for stewardship interventions.
To examine how individual steward characteristics (eg, steward role, sex, and specialized training) are associated with their views of antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) implementation at their institution.
Descriptive survey from a mixed-methods study.
Two large national healthcare systems; the Veterans’ Health Administration (VA) (n = 134 hospitals) and Intermountain Healthcare (IHC; n = 20 hospitals).
We sent the survey to 329 antibiotic stewards serving in 154 hospitals; 152 were physicians and 177 were pharmacists. In total, 118 pharmacists and 64 physicians from 126 hospitals responded.
The survey was grounded in constructs of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, and it assessed stewards’ views on the development and implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) at their institutions We then examined differences in stewards’ views by demographic factors.
Regardless of individual factors, stewards agreed that the ASP added value to their institution and was advantageous to patient care. Stewards also reported high levels of collegiality and self-efficacy. Stewards who had specialized training or those volunteered for the role were less likely to think that the ASP was implemented due to a mandate. Similarly volunteers and those with specialized training felt that they had authority in the antibiotic decisions made in their facility.
Given the importance of ASPs, it may be beneficial for healthcare institutions to recruit and train individuals with a true interest in stewardship.
Hospitals are required to have antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs), but there are few models for implementing ASPs without the support of an infectious disease (ID) specialist, defined as an ID physician and/or ID pharmacist.
In this study, we sought to understand ASP implementation at hospitals that lack on-site ID support within the Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA).
Using a mandatory VHA survey, we identified acute-care hospitals that lacked an on-site ID specialist. We conducted semistructured interviews with personnel involved in ASP activities.
The study was conducted across 7 VHA hospitals.
In total, 42 hospital personnel were enrolled in the study.
The primary responsibility for ASPs fell on the pharmacist champions, who were typically assigned multiple other non-ASP responsibilities. The pharmacist champions were more successful at gaining buy-in when they had established rapport with clinicians, but at some sites, the use of contract physicians and frequent staff turnover were potential barriers. Some sites felt that having access to an off-site ID specialist was important for overcoming institutional barriers and improving the acceptance of their stewardship recommendations. In general, stewardship champions struggled to mobilize institutional resources, which made it difficult to advance their programmatic goals.
In this study of 7 hospitals without on-site ID support, we found that ASPs are largely a pharmacy-driven process. Remote ID support, if available, was seen as helpful for implementing stewardship interventions. These findings may inform the future implementation of ASPs in settings lacking local ID expertise.
To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of antimicrobial stewardship-focused implementation strategies on inpatient fluoroquinolones.
Stewardship champions at 15 hospitals were surveyed regarding the use and acceptability of strategies to improve fluoroquinolone prescribing. Antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present (DP) for sites with and without prospective audit and feedback (PAF) and/or prior approval were compared.
Among all of the sites, 60% had PAF or prior approval implemented for fluoroquinolones. Compared to sites using neither strategy (64.2 ± 34.4 DOT/DP), fluoroquinolone prescribing rates were lower for sites that employed PAF and/or prior approval (35.5 ± 9.8; P = .03) and decreased from 2017 to 2018 (P < .001). This decrease occurred without an increase in advanced-generation cephalosporins. Total antibiotic rates were 13% lower for sites with PAF and/or prior approval, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .20). Sites reporting that PAF and/or prior approval were “completely” accepted had lower fluoroquinolone rates than sites where it was “moderately” accepted (34.2 ± 5.7 vs 48.7 ± 4.5; P < .01). Sites reported that clinical pathways and/or local guidelines (93%), prior approval (93%), and order forms (80%) “would” or “may” be effective in improving fluoroquinolone use. Although most sites (73%) indicated that requiring infectious disease consults would or may be effective in improving fluoroquinolones, 87% perceived implementation to be difficult.
PAF and prior approval implementation strategies focused on fluoroquinolones were associated with significantly lower fluoroquinolone prescribing rates and nonsignificant decreases in total antibiotic use, suggesting limited evidence for class substitution. The association of acceptability of strategies with lower rates highlights the importance of culture. These results may indicate increased acceptability of implementation strategies and/or sensitivity to FDA warnings.
Antibiotic prescribing practices across the Veterans’ Health Administration (VA) experienced significant shifts during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. From 2015 to 2019, antibiotic use between January and May decreased from 638 to 602 days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present (DP), while the corresponding months in 2020 saw antibiotic utilization rise to 628 DOT per 1,000 DP.
We describe a widespread laboratory surveillance program for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at an integrated medical campus that includes a tertiary-care center, a skilled nursing facility, a rehabilitation treatment center, and temporary shelter units. We identified 22 asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 and implemented infection control measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in congregate settings.
Antibiotics are overprescribed for acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs). Guidelines provide criteria to determine which patients should receive antibiotics. We assessed congruence between documentation of ARI diagnostic and treatment practices with guideline recommendations, treatment appropriateness, and outcomes.
A multicenter quality improvement evaluation was conducted in 28 Veterans Affairs facilities. We included visits for pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and upper respiratory tract infections (URI-NOS) that occurred during the 2015–2016 winter season. A manual record review identified complicated cases, which were excluded. Data were extracted for visits meeting criteria, followed by analysis of practice patterns, guideline congruence, and outcomes.
Of 5,740 visits, 4,305 met our inclusion criteria: pharyngitis (n = 558), rhinosinusitis (n = 715), bronchitis (n = 1,155), URI-NOS (n = 1,475), or mixed diagnoses (>1 ARI diagnosis) (n = 402). Antibiotics were prescribed in 68% of visits: pharyngitis (69%), rhinosinusitis (89%), bronchitis (86%), URI-NOS (37%), and mixed diagnosis (86%). Streptococcal diagnostic testing was performed in 33% of pharyngitis visits; group A Streptococcus was identified in 3% of visits. Streptococcal tests were ordered less frequently for patients who received antibiotics (28%) than those who did not receive antibiotics 44%; P < .01). Although 68% of visits for rhinosinusitis had documentation of symptoms, only 32% met diagnostic criteria for antibiotics. Overall, 39% of patients with uncomplicated ARIs received appropriate antibiotic management. The proportion of 30-day return visits for ARI care was similar for appropriate (11%) or inappropriate (10%) antibiotic management (P = .22).
Antibiotics were prescribed in most uncomplicated ARI visits, indicating substantial overuse. Practice was frequently discordant with guideline diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
To examine variation in antibiotic coverage and detection of resistant pathogens in community-onset pneumonia.
A total of 128 hospitals in the Veterans Affairs health system.
Hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of pneumonia from 2009 through 2010.
We examined proportions of hospitalizations with empiric antibiotic coverage for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PAER) and with initial detection in blood or respiratory cultures. We compared lowest- versus highest-decile hospitals, and we estimated adjusted probabilities (AP) for patient- and hospital-level factors predicting coverage and detection using hierarchical regression modeling.
Among 38,473 hospitalizations, empiric coverage varied widely across hospitals (MRSA lowest vs highest, 8.2% vs 42.0%; PAER lowest vs highest, 13.9% vs 44.4%). Detection rates also varied (MRSA lowest vs highest, 0.5% vs 3.6%; PAER lowest vs highest, 0.6% vs 3.7%). Whereas coverage was greatest among patients with recent hospitalizations (AP for anti-MRSA, 54%; AP for anti-PAER, 59%) and long-term care (AP for anti-MRSA, 60%; AP for anti-PAER, 66%), detection was greatest in patients with a previous history of a positive culture (AP for MRSA, 7.9%; AP for PAER, 11.9%) and in hospitals with a high prevalence of the organism in pneumonia (AP for MRSA, 3.9%; AP for PAER, 3.2%). Low hospital complexity and rural setting were strong negative predictors of coverage but not of detection.
Hospitals demonstrated widespread variation in both coverage and detection of MRSA and PAER, but probability of coverage correlated poorly with probability of detection. Factors associated with empiric coverage (eg, healthcare exposure) were different from those associated with detection (eg, microbiology history). Providing microbiology data during empiric antibiotic decision making could better align coverage to risk for resistant pathogens and could promote more judicious use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are variably implemented.
To characterize variations of antimicrobial stewardship structure and practices across all inpatient Veterans Affairs facilities in 2012 and correlate key characteristics with antimicrobial usage.
A web-based survey regarding stewardship activities was administered to each facility’s designated contact. Bivariate associations between facility characteristics and inpatient antimicrobial use during 2012 were determined.
Total of 130 Veterans Affairs facilities with inpatient services.
Of 130 responding facilities, 29 (22%) had a formal policy establishing an ASP, and 12 (9%) had an approved ASP business plan. Antimicrobial stewardship teams were present in 49 facilities (38%); 34 teams included a clinical pharmacist with formal infectious diseases (ID) training. Stewardship activities varied across facilities, including development of yearly antibiograms (122 [94%]), formulary restrictions (120 [92%]), stop orders for antimicrobial duration (98 [75%]), and written clinical pathways for specific conditions (96 [74%]). Decreased antimicrobial usage was associated with having at least 1 full-time ID physician (P=.03), an ID fellowship program (P=.003), and a clinical pharmacist with formal ID training (P=.006) as well as frequency of systematic patient-level reviews of antimicrobial use (P=.01) and having a policy to address antimicrobial use in the context of Clostridium difficile infection (P=.01). Stop orders for antimicrobial duration were associated with increased use (P=.03).
ASP-related activities varied considerably. Decreased antibiotic use appeared related to ID presence and certain select practices. Further statistical assessments may help optimize antimicrobial practices.
Aspiration is the introduction of oropharyngeal or gastric contents into the respiratory tract. Three major syndromes may develop as a consequence of aspiration: chemical pneumonitis, bronchial obstruction secondary to aspiration of particulate matter, and bacterial aspiration pneumonia. Less commonly, interstitial lung disease occurs in persons with chronic aspiration. Which of these consequences emerges is determined by the amount and nature of the aspirated material as well as by the integrity of host defense mechanisms.
The term aspiration pneumonia refers to the infectious consequences of introduction of relatively large volumes of oral material into the lower airways (macroaspiration). Although healthy persons frequently aspirate small volumes of pharyngeal secretions during sleep, the development of pneumonia after such microaspiration is normally prevented by mechanical (e.g., cough and mucociliary transport) and immunologic responses. Pneumonia arises when these host defenses are not able to limit bacterial proliferation either because of microaspiration of highly virulent pathogens to which the host lacks specific immunity (e.g., Streptococcus pneumoniae or enteric gram-negative bacteria) or because of macroaspiration of large quantities of organisms that may not necessarily be highly virulent.
Aspiration may be clinically obvious, as when acute pulmonary complications follow inhalation of vomited gastric contents. Such acute chemical pneumonitis, representing damage to lung parenchyma by highly acidic gastric contents, is often referred to as Mendelson’s syndrome. On the other extreme, so-called silent aspiration, as occurs in persons with neurologic impairment who lack cough responses, is often followed by the indolent onset of infectious pneumonia consequent to contamination of the lower airways by low virulence mixtures of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms from the oropharynx.
To estimate avoidable intravenous (IV) fluoroquinolone use in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.
A retrospective analysis of bar code medication administration (BCMA) data.
Acute care wards of 128 VA hospitals throughout the United States.
Data were analyzed for all medications administered on acute care wards between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2010. Patient-days receiving therapy were expressed as fluoroquinolone-days (FD) and divided into intravenous (IV; all doses administered intravenously) and oral (PO; at least one dose administered per os) FD. We assumed IV fluoroquinolone use to be potentially avoidable on a given IV FD when there was at least 1 other medication administered via the enteral route.
Over the entire study period, 884,740 IV and 830,572 PO FD were administered. Overall, avoidable IV fluoroquinolone use accounted for 46.8% of all FD and 90.9% of IV FD. Excluding the first 2 days of all IV fluoroquinolone courses and limiting the analysis to the non-ICU setting yielded more conservative estimates of avoidable IV use: 20.9% of all FD and 45.9% of IV FD. Avoidable IV use was more common for levofloxacin and more frequent in the ICU setting. There was a moderate correlation between avoidable IV FD and total systemic antibiotic use (r = 0.32).
Unnecessary IV fluoroquinolone use seems to be common in the VA system, but important variations exist between facilities. Antibiotic stewardship programs could focus on this patient safety issue as a “low-hanging fruit” to increase awareness of appropriate antibiotic use.
Aspiration is the introduction of oropharyngeal or gastric contents into the respiratory tract. Three major syndromes may develop as a consequence of aspiration: chemical pneumonitis, bronchial obstruction secondary to aspiration of particulate matter, and bacterial aspiration pneumonia. Less commonly, interstitial lung disease occurs in persons with chronic aspiration. Which of these consequences emerges is determined by the amount and nature of the aspirated material as well as by the integrity of host defense mechanisms. Aspiration is the main means of bacterial contamination of the lower airways.
The term aspiration pneumonia is used to refer to the infectious consequences of introduction of relatively large volumes of material (macroaspiration). Although healthy persons frequently aspirate small volumes of pharyngeal secretions during sleep, the development of pneumonia after such microaspiration is normally prevented by mechanical (eg, cough and mucociliary transport) and immunological responses. Pneumonia arises when these host defenses are not able to limit bacterial proliferation either because of microaspiration of highly virulent pathogens to which the host lacks specific immunity (eg, Streptococcus pneumoniae or enteric gram-negative bacteria) or because of macroaspiration of lower or higher virulence organisms.
Aspiration may be clinically obvious, as when acute pulmonary complications follow inhalation of vomited gastric contents. Such acute chemical pneumonitis is often referred to as Mendelson syndrome. On the other extreme, so-called silent aspiration, as occurs in persons with neurological impairment who lack cough responses, is often followed by the indolent onset of infectious pneumonia consequent to the inhalation of the low virulence mixtures of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms normally resident in the oropharynx.
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