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Background: Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) often rely on International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes to assess antibiotic appropriateness for provider feedback. Concordance between encounter ICD-10 codes and documented indication for antibiotics based on manual chart review varies greatly (74%–95%) in the inpatient setting. Data on concordance between documented indication and ICD-10 code in the outpatient setting are scarce. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 650 randomly selected outpatient encounters with antibiotic prescriptions from walk-in and retail clinics between July 15 and September 15, 2021, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. We performed chart review to compare documented antibiotic indication to the 3 most frequent encounter-associated ICD-10 codes. Also, 12 encounters were excluded due to insufficient available written documentation. The 95% CI for proportion of encounters with concordant antibiotic indications was calculated using Stata version 15.1 software. Results: Of the 638 antibiotic prescriptions with written documentation available for chart review, 204 (32%) were for amoxicillin, 102 (16%) were for amoxicillin-clavulanate, 61 (10%) were for cefdinir, and 56 (9%) were for azithromycin. Overall, 540 (84.6%; 95% CI, 81.6%–87.4%) of 638 encounters had concordant antibiotic indication based on documentation in the note and associated ICD-10 for the encounter. Of the 540 encounters with concordant ICD-10 and documented indications, 348 (64%), 130 (24%), and 35 (6%) were listed as the first, second, and third ICD-10 codes, respectively. An additional 27 (5%) had a concordant ICD-10 code listed beyond the third position. In total, 125 (19.6%) of 638 encounters did not have the intended antibiotic indication as documented in the note in the 3 most frequent encounter-associated ICD-10 codes (whether a lower position or incongruent ICD-10 code with documentation). Of those 125 encounters, 42 (34%) had a documented diagnosis of strep pharyngitis, 16 (13%) had a documented diagnosis of skin or soft-tissue infection, 11 (9%) had a documented diagnosis of urinary tract infection, and 11 (9%) had a documented diagnosis of acute otitis media. Conclusions: Our data suggest that outpatient antimicrobial prescriptions correlate relatively well with encounter ICD-10 codes. However, most ASP prescribing goals aim to reduce inappropriate prescribing to 10% or fewer of prescriptions based on indication. Therefore, providers may not trust individual prescribing feedback that is based on data that is only correct 85% of the time. For ASPs to accurately assess prescribing and provide trusted, meaningful recommendations and specific feedback to individual prescribers, more reliable and valid data are needed. We intend to evaluate whether requiring outpatient antibiotic indications on prescriptions increases data reliability and validity.
To design and implement “handshake rounds” as an antibiotic stewardship intervention to reduce inpatient intravenous (IV) antibiotic use in patients with hematologic malignancies.
Quasi-experimental analysis of antibiotic use (AU) and secondary outcomes before and and after handshake rounds were implemented.
Quaternary-care, academic medical center.
Hospitalized adults with hematologic malignancies receiving IV antibiotics.
We performed a retrospective review of a preintervention cohort prior to the intervention. A multidisciplinary team developed criteria for de-escalation of antibiotics, logistics of handshake rounds, and outcome metrics. Eligible patients were discussed during scheduled handshake rounds between a hematology–oncology pharmacist and transplant–infectious diseases (TID) physician. Prospective data were collected over 30 days in the postintervention cohort. Due to small sample size, 2:1 matching was used to compare pre- to and postintervention AU. Total AU in days of therapy per 1,000 patient days (DOT/1,000 PD) was reported. Mean AU per patient was analyzed using Wilcoxon rank-sum test. A descriptive analysis of secondary outcomes of pre- and postintervention cohorts was performed.
Total AU was substantially lower after the intervention, with 517 DOT/1,000 PD compared to 865 DOT/1,000 PD before the intervention. There was no statistically significant difference in the mean AU per patient between the 2 cohorts. There was a lower rate of 30-day mortality in the postintervention cohort and rates of ICU admissions were similar.
Conducting handshake rounds is a safe and effective way to implement an antibiotic stewardship intervention among high-risk patient population such as those with hematologic malignancies.
Antibiotic overuse is common in outpatient pediatrics and varies across clinical setting and clinician type. We sought to identify social, behavioral, and environmental drivers of outpatient antibiotic prescribing for pediatric patients.
We conducted semistructured interviews with physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) across diverse outpatient settings including pediatric primary, urgent, and retail care. We used the grounded theory constant comparative method and a thematic approach to analysis. We developed a conceptual model, building on domains of continuity to map common themes and their relationships within the healthcare system.
We interviewed 55 physicians and APPs. Clinicians across all settings prioritized provision of guideline-concordant care but implemented these guidelines with varying degrees of success. The provision of guideline-concordant care was influenced by the patient–clinician relationship and patient or parent expectations (relational continuity); the clinician’s access to patient clinical history (informational continuity); and the consistency of care delivered (management continuity). No difference in described themes was determined by setting or clinician type; however, clinicians in primary care described having more reliable relational and informational continuity.
Clinicians described the absence of long-term relationships (relational continuity) and lack of availability of prior clinical history (informational continuity) as factors that may influence outpatient antibiotic prescribing. Guideline-concordant outpatient antibiotic prescribing was facilitated by consistent practice across settings (management continuity) and the presence of relational and informational continuity, which are common only in primary care. Management continuity may be more modifiable than informational and relational continuity and thus a focus for outpatient stewardship programs.
Veterans’ Affairs (VA) healthcare providers perceive that Veterans expect and base visit satisfaction on receiving antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). No studies have tested this hypothesis. We sought to determine whether receiving and/or expecting antibiotics were associated with Veteran satisfaction with URI visits.
This cross-sectional study included Veterans evaluated for URI January 2018–December 2019 in an 18-clinic ambulatory VA primary-care system. We evaluated Veteran satisfaction via the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire Short Form (RAND Corporation), an 18-item 5-point Likert scale survey. Additional items assessed Veteran antibiotic expectations. Antibiotic receipt was determined via medical record review. We used multivariable regression to evaluate whether antibiotic receipt and/or Veteran antibiotic expectations were associated with satisfaction. Subgroup analyses focused on Veterans who accurately remembered antibiotic prescribing during their URI visit.
Of 1,329 eligible Veterans, 432 (33%) participated. Antibiotic receipt was not associated with differences in mean total satisfaction (adjusted score difference, 0.6 points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −2.1 to 3.3). However, mean total satisfaction was lower for Veterans expecting an antibiotic (adjusted score difference −4.4 points; 95% CI −7.2 to −1.6). Among Veterans who accurately remembered the visit and did not receive an antibiotic, those who expected an antibiotic had lower mean satisfaction scores than those who did not (unadjusted score difference, −16.6 points; 95% CI, −24.6 to −8.6).
Veteran expectations for antibiotics, not antibiotic receipt, are associated with changes in satisfaction with outpatient URI visits. Future research should further explore patient expectations and development of patient-centered and provider-focused interventions to change patient antibiotic expectations.
Background: Bacterial coinfections with COVID-19 appear to be rare, yet antibiotic use in this population is high. Limited guidance is available regarding the use of antibiotics in these patients. In response, a multidisciplinary group of physicians and pharmacists from 5 VISN9 facilities developed a guideline for the use of antibiotics with COVID-19 in July 2021. This guideline created a network-wide standard for antibiotic use and facilitates the assessment of antibiotic appropriateness in hospitalized veterans with COVID-19. Methods: In this observational, cross-sectional study, we reviewed veterans diagnosed with COVID-19 from August 1 through September 30, 2021, who were admitted to VISN9 facilities. Use of antibiotics was assessed during the first 4 days of admission. If antibiotics were prescribed, their use was determined to be appropriate or inappropriate based on the presence or absence of a finding concerning for bacterial coinfection as outlined in the guideline (Table 1). Additional data including procalcitonin results as well as positive sputum cultures were collected. Results: In total, 377 veterans were admitted for COVID-19 during the study period. Among them, 42 veterans (11%) received antibiotics for nonrespiratory infections and were removed from this analysis. Of the remaining 335 veterans, 229 (68%) received antibiotics and 116 (51%) of those met guideline criteria that were concerning for bacterial coinfection. Additionally, 32 (14%) of the 229 veterans who received antibiotics had >1 finding concerning for bacterial coinfection. Procalcitonin levels were obtained in 97 (42%) of 229. Only 33 veterans (14%) who received antibiotics had an elevated procalcitonin, and only 19 (8%) had a positive sputum culture. Conclusions: Antibiotic use was common in hospitalized veterans with COVID-19 in VISN9 facilities. This results are comparable to findings in the published literature. Among those receiving antibiotics early in their hospitalization, half were considered appropriate based on our guideline. Quality improvement initiatives are needed to improve implementation of the network guideline to reduce the overuse of antibiotics for management of COVID-19. Additionally, procalcitonin may be a helpful tool for hospitalized veterans with COVID-19.
Background: Long-term care facility (LTCF) employees pose potential risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. Association between employee infection prevention (IP) adherence with facility COVID-19 outbreaks remains a knowledge gap. Methods: From April through December 2020, prior to COVID-19 vaccination, we tested asymptomatic Veterans’ Affairs (VA) community living center (CLC) residents twice weekly and employees monthly, which increased to weekly with known exposure, for SARS-CoV-2 via nasopharyngeal PCR. Employees voluntarily completed multiple choice questionnaires assessing self-reported IP adherence at and outside work. Surveys were longitudinally administered in April, June, July, and October 2020. Changes in paired employee responses for each period were analyzed using the McNemar test. We obtained COVID-19 community rates from surrounding Davidson and Rutherford counties from the Tennessee Department of Health public data set. CLC resident COVID-19 cases were obtained from VA IP data. Incidence rate and number of positive tests were calculated. Results: Between April and December 2020, 444 employees completed at least 1 survey; 177 completed surveys in both April and June, 179 completed surveys in both June and July, and 140 completed surveys in both July and October (Fig. 1). Across periods, employee surveys demonstrated an increase in masking at work and outside work between April and June (63% to 95% [P < .01] and 36% to 63% [P < .01], respectively), and June to July (95% to 99% [P < .05] and 71% to 84% [P < .01], respectively) that were both maintained between July and October (Fig. 2). Distancing at work and limiting social contacts outside work significantly decreased from April to June but increased in subsequent periods, although not significantly. COVID-19 community incidence peaked in July and again in December, but CLC resident COVID-19 cases peaked in August, declined, and remained low through December (Fig. 3). Discussion: Wearing a mask at work, which was mandatory, increased, and voluntary employee masking outside work also increased. CLC COVID-19 cases mirrored community increases in July and August; however, community cases increased again later in 2020 while CLC cases remained low. Employees reporting distancing at work and limiting social contacts outside work decreased preceding the initial rise in CLC cases but increased and remained high after July. Conclusions: These data from the pre–COVID-19 vaccination era suggest that widespread, increased support for and emphasis on LTCF IP adherence, especially masking, may have effectively prevented COVID-19 outbreaks in the vulnerable LTCF population.
In a survey of adult hospital providers regarding antibiotic use in the treatment of febrile neutropenia, clinical fellows, and pharmacists showed higher comfort levels with early antimicrobial de-escalation compared to hematology-oncology and transplant infectious diseases physicians. These frontline team members are ideal partners to champion antimicrobial stewardship interventions in febrile neutropenia.
Background: Antibiotics are not recommended but are often prescribed for upper respiratory-tract infections (URIs). Prescribers cite patient expectation as a driver of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing; prior literature has demonstrated higher satisfaction scores in patients who receive antibiotics compared to those who do not. We assessed whether veteran satisfaction at URI visits was associated with antibiotic receipt or with reported expectation for antibiotics. Methods: We surveyed veterans with documented URI encounters in the Veterans’ Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019. Patients not evaluated in person, with documented dementia, or who died prior to the study start date were excluded. Veterans were asked to recall their URI visit and to complete the Patient Safety Questionnaire (PSQ)-18 (Rand Corporation) and questions assessing antibiotic expectations. The PSQ-18, an 18-item survey that assesses patient satisfaction, uses a 5-point Likert scale (ie, strongly disagree, disagree, uncertain, agree, strongly agree), yielding a composite score of 18–90. Higher scores represent more satisfaction with care. Demographic and visit-specific information were extracted via chart review. We used multivariable linear regression to assess differences in composite PSQ-18 satisfaction scores between those who did and did not receive an antibiotic, adjusted for patient and visit characteristics, and to assess differences in satisfaction scores for those who did and did not report expecting antibiotics, adjusted for antibiotic receipt. Results: We identified 1,435 patients seen for URI at 17 sites. After exclusions, 1,343 veterans were eligible for chart abstraction. After excluding 42 responders who responded after study close or returned blank surveys, the final analytic cohort included 432 (32.2%) of 1,343 responders; 225 (52.1%) received an antibiotic and 207 (47.9%) did not. Mean total satisfaction for veterans who received an antibiotic was 67.8 (SD, ±9.4) compared to 66.7 (SD, ±9.7) for those who did not (Figure 1). Increased total satisfaction was not significantly associated with antibiotic receipt (0.65; 95% CI, −2.0 to 3.3). Most veterans (72.0%) disagreed that visit satisfaction depended on antibiotic receipt. However, only 30.8% reported that they would not expect an antibiotic for URI visits. A significant reduction in total satisfaction (−4.1; 95% CI, −6.3 to −1.9) was associated with expecting compared to not expecting an antibiotic. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that prescribing an antibiotic is not associated with increased veteran satisfaction for URI visits but is associated with expecting an antibiotic. Future work will evaluate methods to change veteran antibiotic expectations.
Evaluate changes in antimicrobial use during COVID-19 and after implementation of a multispecialty COVID-19 clinical guidance team compared to pre–COVID-19 antimicrobial use.
Retrospective observational study.
Tertiary-care academic medical center.
Internal medicine and medical intensive care unit (MICU) provider teams and hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Difference-in-differences analyses of antibiotic days of therapy per 1,000 patient days present (DOT) for internal medicine and MICU teams treating COVID-19 patients versus teams that did not were performed for 3 periods: before COVID-19, initial COVID-19 period, and after implementation of a multispecialty COVID-19 clinical guidance team which included daily, patient-specific antimicrobial stewardship recommendations. Patient characteristics associated with antibiotic DOT were evaluated using multivariable Poisson regression.
In the initial COVID-19 period, compared to the pre–COVID-19 period, internal medicine and MICU teams increased weekly antimicrobial use by 145.3 DOT (95% CI, 35.1–255.5) and 204.0 DOT (95% CI, −16.9 to 424.8), respectively, compared to non–COVID-19 teams. In the intervention period, internal medicine and MICU COVID-19 teams both had significant weekly decreases of 362.3 DOT (95% CI, −443.3 to −281.2) and 226.3 DOT (95% CI, −381.2 to –71.3). Of 131 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 86 (65.6%) received antibiotics; no specific patient factors were significantly associated with an expected change in antibiotic days.
Antimicrobial use initially increased for COVID-19 patient care teams compared to pre–COVID-19 levels but significantly decreased after implementation of a multispecialty clinical guidance team, which may be an effective strategy to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial use.
Background: Handshake antibiotic stewardship is an effective but resource-intensive strategy for reducing antimicrobial utilization. At larger hospitals, widespread implementation of direct handshake rounds may be constrained by available resources. To optimize resource utilization and mirror handshake antimicrobial stewardship, we designed an indirect feedback model utilizing existing team pharmacy infrastructure. Methods: The antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) utilized the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) improvement methodology to implement an antibiotic stewardship intervention centered on antimicrobial utilization feedback and patient-level recommendations to optimize antimicrobial utilization. The intervention included team-based antimicrobial utilization dashboard development, biweekly antimicrobial utilization data feedback of total antimicrobial utilization and select drug-specific antimicrobial utilization, and twice weekly individualized review by ASP staff of all patients admitted to the 5 hospitalist teams on antimicrobials with recommendations (discontinuation, optimization, etc) relayed electronically to team-based pharmacists. Pharmacists were to communicate recommendations as an indirect surrogate for handshake antibiotic stewardship. As reviewer duties expanded to include a rotation of multiple reviewers, a standard operating procedure was created. A closed-loop communication model was developed to ensure pharmacist feedback receipt and to allow intervention acceptance tracking. During implementation optimization, a team pharmacist-champion was identified and addressed communication lapses. An outcome measure of days of therapy per 1,000 patient days present (DOT/1,000 PD) and balance measure of in-hospital mortality were chosen. Implementation began April 5, 2019, and data were collected through October 31, 2019. Preintervention comparison data spanned December 2017 to April 2019. Results: Overall, 1,119 cases were reviewed by the ASP, of whom 255 (22.8%) received feedback. In total, 236 of 362 recommendations (65.2%) were implemented (Fig. 1). Antimicrobial discontinuation was the most frequent (147 of 362, 40.6%), and most consistently implemented (111 of 147, 75.3%), recommendation. The DOT/1,000 PD before the intervention compared to the same metric after intervention remained unchanged (741.1 vs 725.4; P = .60) as did crude in-hospital mortality (1.8% vs 1.7%; P = .76). Several contributing factors were identified: communication lapses (eg, emails not received by 2 pharmacists), intervention timing (mismatch of recommendation and rounding window), and individual culture (some pharmacists with reduced buy-in selectively relayed recommendations). Conclusion: Although resource efficient, this model of indirect handshake did not significantly impact total antimicrobial utilization. Through serial PDSA cycles, implementation barriers were identified that can be addressed to improve the feedback process. Communication, expectation management, and interpersonal relationship development emerged as critical issues contributing to poor recommendation adherence. Future PDSA cycles will focus on streamlining processes to improve communication among stakeholders.
To identify patient and provider characteristics associated with high-volume antibiotic prescribing for children in Tennessee, a state with high antibiotic utilization.
Cross-sectional, retrospective analysis of pediatric (aged <20 years) outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in Tennessee using the 2016 IQVIA Xponent (formerly QuintilesIMS) database.
Patient and provider characteristics, including county of prescription fill, rural versus urban county classification, patient age group, provider type (nurse practitioner, physician assistant, physician, or dentist), physician specialty, and physician years of practice were analyzed.
Tennessee providers wrote 1,940,011 pediatric outpatient antibiotic prescriptions yielding an antibiotic prescribing rate of 1,165 per 1,000 population, 50% higher than the national pediatric antibiotic prescribing rate. Mean antibiotic prescribing rates varied greatly by county (range, 39–2,482 prescriptions per 1,000 population). Physicians wrote the greatest number of antibiotic prescriptions (1,043,030 prescriptions, 54%) of which 56% were written by general pediatricians. Pediatricians graduating from medical school prior to 2000 were significantly more likely than those graduating after 2000 to be high antibiotic prescribers. Overall, 360 providers (1.7% of the 21,798 total providers in this dataset) were responsible for nearly 25% of both overall and broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions; 20% of these providers practiced in a single county.
Fewer than 2% of providers account for 25% of pediatric antibiotic prescriptions. High antibiotic prescribing for children in Tennessee is associated with specific patient and provider characteristics that can be used to design stewardship interventions targeted to the highest prescribing providers in specific counties and specialties.
Prescribers who wrote at least 1 antibiotic prescription filled at a retail pharmacy in Tennessee in 2016.
Multivariable logistic regression, including prescriber gender, birth decade, specialty, and practice location, and patient gender and age group, to determine the association with high prescribing.
In 2016, 7,949,816 outpatient oral antibiotic prescriptions were filled in Tennessee: 1,195 prescriptions per 1,000 total population. Moreover, 50% of Tennessee’s outpatient oral antibiotic prescriptions were written by 9.3% of prescribers. Specific specialties and prescriber types were associated with high prescribing: urology (odds ratio [OR], 3.249; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.208–3.289), nurse practitioners (OR, 2.675; 95% CI, 2.658–2.692), dermatologists (OR, 2.396; 95% CI, 2.365–2.428), physician assistants (OR, 2.382; 95% CI, 2.364–2.400), and pediatric physicians (OR, 2.340; 95% CI, 2.320–2.361). Prescribers born in the 1960s were most likely to be high prescribers (OR, 2.574; 95% CI, 2.532–2.618). Prescribers in rural areas were more likely than prescribers in all other practice locations to be high prescribers. High prescribers were more likely to prescribe broader-spectrum antibiotics (P < .001).
Targeting high prescribers, independent of specialty, degree, practice location, age, or gender, may be the best strategy for implementing cost-conscious, effective outpatient antimicrobial stewardship interventions. More information about high prescribers, such as patient volumes, clinical scope, and specific barriers to intervention, is needed.
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