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We found previously that inappropriate inpatient antimicrobial use was often attributable to erroneous diagnoses. Here, we detail diagnostic errors and their relationship to inappropriate antimicrobial courses.
Retrospective cohort study
Veterans Affairs hospital
A cohort of 500 randomly selected inpatients with an antimicrobial course
Blinded reviewers judged the accuracy of the initial provider diagnosis for the condition that led to an antimicrobial course and whether the course was appropriate.
The diagnoses were correct in 291 cases (58%), incorrect in 156 cases (31%), and of indeterminate accuracy in 22 cases (4%). In the remaining 31 cases (6%), the diagnosis was a sign or symptom rather than a syndrome or disease. The odds ratio of a correct diagnosis was 4.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2–8.5) if the index condition was related to the reason for admission. When the diagnosis was correct, 181 of 292 courses (62%) were appropriate, compared with only 10 of 208 (5%) when the diagnosis was incorrect or indeterminate or when providers were treating a sign or symptom rather than a syndrome or disease (P<.001). Among the 309 cases in which antimicrobial courses were not appropriate, reasons varied by diagnostic accuracy; in 81 of 111 cases (73%) with a correct diagnosis, incorrect antimicrobial(s) were selected; in 166 of 198 other cases (84%), antimicrobial therapy was not indicated.
Diagnostic accuracy is important for optimal inpatient antimicrobial use. Antimicrobial stewardship strategies should help providers avoid diagnostic errors and know when antimicrobial therapy can be withheld safely.
To determine whether antimicrobial (AM) courses ordered with an antimicrobial computer decision support system (CDSS) were more likely to be appropriate than courses ordered without the CDSS.
Retrospective cohort study. Blinded expert reviewers judged whether AM courses were appropriate, considering drug selection, route, dose, and duration.
A 279-bed university-affiliated Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital.
A 500-patient random sample of inpatients who received a therapeutic AM course between October 2007 and September 2008.
An optional CDSS, available at the point of order entry in the VA computerized patient record system.
CDSS courses were significantly more likely to be appropriate (111/254, 44%) compared with non-CDSS courses (81/246, 33%, P = .013). Courses were more likely to be appropriate when the initial provider diagnosis of the condition being treated was correct (168/273, 62%) than when it was incorrect, uncertain, or a sign or symptom rather than a disease (24/227, 11%, P< .001). In multivariable analysis, CDSS-ordered courses were more likely to be appropriate than non-CDSS-ordered courses (odds ratio [OR], 1.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13–2.98). Courses were also more likely to be judged appropriate when the initial provider diagnosis of the condition being treated was correct than when it was incorrect, uncertain, or a sign or symptom rather than a disease (OR, 3.56; 95% CI, 1.4-9.0).
Use of the CDSS was associated with more appropriate AM use. To achieve greater improvements, strategies are needed to improve provider diagnoses of syndromes that are infectious or possibly infectious.