Can J Hosp Pharm. 2021 Spring;74(2):104-109. Epub 2021 Apr 1.
BACKGROUND: Inappropriate allergy labelling is associated with significant clinical and pharmacoeconomic implications. Detailed antimicrobial allergy assessments represent a key component of antimicrobial stewardship and aid in identifying true type I (immediate hypersensitivity) reactions. The allergy history form currently used at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC), in Prince George, relies on the assessor's ability to ask appropriate prompting questions to obtain a thorough history, but it may not be sufficient to accurately identify true allergies.
OBJECTIVE: To compare a standardized allergy history questionnaire and the current allergy history form in terms of the quality and quantity of documentation gathered.
METHODS: This prospective observational study involved patients who were admitted to medical and surgical services at UHNBC from November 2018 to January 2019 with a penicillin-class allergy reported on their electronic medical record (EMR). A list of patients with EMR-reported allergies was generated by the hospital's health information software system, and these patients were interviewed using the standardized allergy history questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 48 patients were assessed during the study period. Nineteen (40%) of the patients had an inappropriate allergy label on their EMR. Only 36 (75%) had an allergic reaction described on their EMR. Furthermore, only 36 (75%) of the 48 patients had the same allergy recorded on the EMR and on the allergy history form contained in their paper chart, of whom 22 had a documented reaction. The mean time to complete the standardized allergy history questionnaire was 2 minutes.
CONCLUSIONS: At the study institution, documentation of allergy histories was often incomplete. Detailed allergy assessments are the first step in identifying true immunoglobulin E-mediated hypersensitivity reactions. Utilization of a standardized allergy history questionnaire is feasible and may serve to improve documentation and overall antimicrobial stewardship.