Building antimicrobial stewardship through massive open online courses: a pilot study in Macedonia

JAC Antimicrob Resist. 2020 Jul 18;2(3):dlaa045. doi: 10.1093/jacamr/dlaa045. eCollection 2020 Sep.


BACKGROUND: The global struggle against antibiotic resistance requires antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer health professionals unprecedented access to high-quality instructional material on AMS; the question is how apprehensible it is to non-native English speakers. Furthermore, to better understand how education interventions promote change towards rational antibiotic prescribing, leading institutions call for studies integrating behavioural science. Research from lower- and middle-income countries is particularly needed.

OBJECTIVES: To measure the knowledge improvement from an AMS MOOC, the influence of language, course satisfaction and subsequent effect on intention to change antibiotic prescribing behaviour.

METHODS: Fifty-five physicians from Macedonia completed the MOOC. Pre- and post-course knowledge test scores were compared using a one-sample t-test. The effect of a language barrier was assessed using self-reported English level. Scores were compared with participants' intention to change behaviour in clinical practice.

RESULTS: Scores significantly improved from 77.8% to 82.2%. Participants with a higher English level improved most, while the low-level group showed no significant improvement. Physicians reported a high or very high intention to change behaviour. This was independent of knowledge improvements.

CONCLUSIONS: First, lower self-reported English proficiency hindered knowledge acquisition from a MOOC platform. AMS programmes should commit to bridge this barrier so as to enable a global spread of education in AMS. Second, factors underlying the physicians' intentions to engage in AMS appear to be more complex than simple knowledge improvements. This suggests that less time-consuming interventions could be as effective.

PMID:34223007 | PMC:PMC8210003 | DOI:10.1093/jacamr/dlaa045