Improving antibiotic adherence in treatment of acute upper respiratory infections: a quality improvement process.

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Improving antibiotic adherence in treatment of acute upper respiratory infections: a quality improvement process.

J Community Hosp Intern Med Perspect. 2015;5(3):27472

Authors: Hingorani R, Mahmood M, Alweis R

INTRODUCTION: Approximately 25 million people in the United States visit their primary care physician each year for acute respiratory infections (ARI). They are a common cause of unnecessary prescription of antibiotics; despite well-validated national treatment guidelines, around 73% of adults with ARI are prescribed antibiotics in the United States. Inappropriate use of antibiotics has profound implications.
METHODS: Our aim was to increase adherence to antibiotic guidelines for treatment of ARI in an internal medicine outpatient practice. We used a package of active and passive interventions to improve physician awareness of treatment guidelines; these included short sessions of didactic teaching, antibiotic guidelines posters in patient examination rooms and staff areas, clinical decision support (CDS) tools integrated into the electronic medical record system, guideline adherence report cards for providers, and reiteration of CDS tool use and guideline adherence at monthly group meetings. Process measures were the rate of use of CDS tools for the management of ARI and patient callbacks within 72 h for the same issue. Outcome measures were compliance with antibiotic prescribing guidelines.
RESULTS: Our low-cost interventions led to a significant improvement in ARI treatment guideline adherence. There was improvement in compliance with treatment guidelines for sinusitis (90.90% vs. 57.58%, p<0.001), pharyngitis (64.28% vs. 25.00%, p=0.003), upper respiratory infection (96.18% vs. 73.68%, p=0.008), and the aggregated measure of ARI (91.25% vs. 78.6%, p<0.001). Rate of CDS tool usage was 40.5% with a 72-h callback rate of 0.05%.
CONCLUSION: Simple, low-cost interventions can improve appropriate antibiotic use for ARI and change the prescribing habits of providers in an outpatient setting. Provider and patient education is a vital component of antibiotic stewardship. Simple interventions for common outpatient conditions can have a positive impact on patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs.

PMID: 26091659 [PubMed]