Developing a sustainable strategy for prescriber-led review of antimicrobial use in a critical care unit may improve antimicrobial use without the need for additional resources.
Using a quality improvement framework, the researchers created a prompt for prescriber-led review of antimicrobial use. The outcome measure was antimicrobial use (days of therapy per 1000 patient days). The process measure was the proportion of relevant cases for which an antimicrobial prompt was provided. Balancing measures included mortality rate, length of stay, 48-hour readmission rates, and multiple organ dysfunction score. Interrupted time series with segmented regression analysis was used for the outcome measure.
Process analysis identified critical care unit nurses for antimicrobial use prompting. A standard script was developed to incorporate a days of therapy prompt into nurse rounds, with primed prescriber responses. Before the intervention, monthly antimicrobial use was 804 days of therapy per 1000 patient days, with a positive trend (7.3 days of therapy per 1000 patient days, P < .05). After the intervention, there was an immediate reduction of 217 days of therapy per 1000 patient days (P < .05), with a nonsignificant negative trend, representing a 20% (95% CI, −15% to −25%) reduction. No significant change was noted in use of the control class of medications. The proportion of relevant cases for which an antimicrobial prompt was provided increased from 21% to 48% during the intervention period. Balancing measures were comparable before and after the intervention.
Nurse prompting can lead to significant reductions in antimicrobial use, providing a sustainable mechanism for independent antimicrobial reassessment.