Impact of printed antimicrobial stewardship recommendations on early intravenous to oral antibiotics switch practice in district hospitals

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Background: Early intravenous to oral (IV-PO) antibiotics switch, which is one of the important elements in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is not well implemented in Malaysian district hospitals. A systematic interventional strategy is required to facilitate IV-PO antibiotic switch.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the impact of printed AMS recommendations on early IV-PO antibiotics switch practice in district hospitals.

Methods: This study was an interventional study conducted in medical wards of eight Sarawak district hospitals from May to August 2015. In pre-intervention phase, pharmacists performed the conventional practice of reviewing medication charts and verbally informed the prescribers on eligible IV-PO switches. In post-intervention phase, pharmacists attached printed checklist which contained IV-PO switch criteria to patients’ medical notes on the day patients were eligible for the switch. Stickers of IV-PO switch were applied to the antibiotic prescription to serve as reminders.

Results: 79 and 77 courses of antibiotics were studied in the pre-intervention phase and post-intervention phase respectively. Timeliness of switch was improved by 1.63 days in the post-intervention phase (95%CI 1.26:2.00 days, p<0.001). Mean duration of IV antibiotics in the post-intervention phase was shorter than pre-intervention phase (2.81 days (SD=1.77) vs 4.05 days (SD=2.81), p<0.001). The proportion of IV-PO switches that were only performed upon discharge reduced significantly in the post-intervention phase (31.2% vs 82.3%, p<0.001). Length of hospital stay in the post-intervention phase was shortened by 1.44 days (p<0.001). Median antibiotic cost savings increased significantly in the post-intervention phase compared to the pre-intervention phase [MYR21.96 (IQR=23.23) vs MYR13.10 (IQR=53.76); p=0.025)].

Conclusions: Pharmacist initiated printed AMS recommendations are successful in improving the timeliness of IV-PO switch, reducing the duration of IV, reducing the length of hospitalisation, and increasing antibiotic cost savings.

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