Background Antibiotics are not recommended for treatment of acute uncomplicated bronchitis (AUB), but are often prescribed (85% of AUB visits within the Veterans Affairs nationally). This quality improvement project aimed to decrease antibiotic prescribing for AUB in community-based outpatient centres from 65% to <32% by April 2020.
Methods From January to December 2018, community-based outpatient clinics’ 6 months’ average of prescribed antibiotics for AUB and upper respiratory infections was 63% (667 of 1054) and 64.6% (314 of 486) when reviewing the last 6 months. Seven plan–do–study–act (PDSA) cycles were implemented by an interprofessional antimicrobial stewardship team between January 2019 and March 2020. Balancing measures were a return patient phone call or visit within 4 weeks for the same complaint. Χ2 tests and statistical process control charts using Western Electric rules were used to analyse intervention data.
Results The AUB antibiotic prescribing rate decreased from 64.6% (314 of 486) in the 6 months prior to the intervention to 36.8% (154 of 418) in the final 6 months of the intervention. No change was seen in balancing measures. The largest reduction in antibiotic prescribing was seen after implementation of PDSA 6 in which 14 high prescribers were identified and targeted for individualised reviews of encounters of patients with AUB with an antimicrobial steward.
Conclusions Operational implementation of successful stewardship interventions is challenging and differs from the traditional implementation study environment. As a nascent outpatient stewardship programme with limited resources and no additional intervention funding, we successfully reduced antibiotic prescribing from 64.6% to 36.8%, a reduction of 43% from baseline. The most success was seen with targeted education of high prescribers.
- antibiotic management
- quality improvement
- audit and feedback
- control charts/run charts
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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Contributors MCJ, MS, TH, RGC, RK, CR, RD, JH and CC-L contributed to the project plan. Project implementation was carried out by MCJ, MS, TH and JH. Data collection was completed by MCJ, MS and LDM. Data analysis was completed by MCJ, MS and CR. MS and MCJ drafted the manuscript and edits were executed by MCJ, MS, RK, CR, RGC, TH, CC-L and RD. Final edits and approval were fulfilled by all authors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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