Pilot pediatric program cuts topical antibiotic use in half: 4 things to know

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Following the realization that certain antibiotics were being prescribed for prolonged periods of time, and some for non-infection purposes, staff at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, N.Y., launched a pilot program to try to curb the unnecessary prescription and usage of antibiotics.

The program consisted of monthly audits from April to September 2014 in which researchers reviewed all of the antibiotics ordered and met regularly with physicians and other staff to review the data with an aim to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions.

Here are four things to know about the program.

1. As part of the pilot program, a new barrier was built into the hospital's EHR requiring providers to document the specific condition that dictated a need for antibiotics. Implementing this barrier triggered a sharp decline in prescription numbers.

2. Before implementing the EHR barrier and conducting regular audits and meetings, providers within the facility often failed to document a reason for antibiotic prescriptions or failed to discontinue treatment once an appropriate duration had been completed.

3. Researchers were able to decrease the number of prescriptions ordered without a documented reason and decrease the use of muciprocin, a topical antibiotic ointment, for non-infectious conditions such as rashes and abrasions.

4. All in all, the pilot program brought about a 59 percent decrease in the use of the topical antibiotic and an 83 percent decrease in orders for antibiotics without proper documentation in the hospital.

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