Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 11;12(1):1593. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21864-3.
Robust evidence supporting strategies for companion animal antimicrobial stewardship is limited, despite frequent prescription of highest priority critically important antimicrobials (HPCIA). Here we describe a randomised controlled trial where electronic prescription data were utilised (August 2018-January 2019) to identify above average HPCIA-prescribing practices (n = 60), which were randomly assigned into a control group (CG) and two intervention groups. In March 2019, the light intervention group (LIG) and heavy intervention group (HIG) were notified of their above average status, and were provided with educational material (LIG, HIG), in-depth benchmarking (HIG), and follow-up meetings (HIG). Following notification, follow-up monitoring lasted for eight months (April-November 2019; post-intervention period) for all intervention groups, though HIG practices were able to access further support (i.e., follow-up meetings) for the first six of these months if requested. Post-intervention, in the HIG a 23.5% and 39.0% reduction in canine (0.5% of total consultations, 95% confidence interval, 0.4-0.6, P = 0.04) and feline (4.4%, 3.4-5.3, P < 0.001) HPCIA-prescribing consultations was observed, compared to the CG (dogs: 0.6%, 0.5-0.8; cats: 7.4%, 6.0-8.7). The LIG was associated with a 16.7% reduction in feline HPCIA prescription (6.1% of total consultations, 5.3-7.0, P = 0.03). Therefore, in this trial we have demonstrated effective strategies for reducing veterinary HPCIA prescription.