Study: Provider Preference Could Improve Use of Antibiotics

Anticipating physicians’ preferences for how they receive feedback on their prescribing patterns could help improve the way antibiotics are used, according to a new study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

“Antimicrobial use feedback is an important component of antibiotic stewardship initiatives that can improve the use of these drugs,” said Tara Lines, PharmD, infectious disease pharmacy resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and lead author of the study, in a release. “Understanding and anticipating the best way to communicate with providers can help drive change by ensuring providers are reached effectively.”

The study reports responses to a 20-question survey from 211 inpatient providers at Vanderbilt University Hospital in various specialties. The survey covered demographic questions, preferred feedback methods, barriers, and comparison metrics, and a hypothetical patient hospitalization scenario assigning provider responsibility for antibiotic use.

According to the survey findings:

  • 89% of respondents preferred their own institutions determining provider use attribution as opposed to external personnel
  • 64% wanted to be compared to other providers in their service with feedback provided on a quarterly basis (69%) via email (73%)
  • Providers agreed on attribution of antimicrobial use early in a hospital stay scenario but disagreed once care became more complex, with some teams deferring and others accepting responsibility
  • Providers generally shared concern about quantitative feedback accounting for complexity of clinical care, severity of illness, and accuracy
  • 51% of providers anticipated changing practice based on antibiotic use feedback