To describe the effect of introducing a route conversion program on the prescribing of antimicrobials for the treatment of respiratory tract infections and skin/soft tissue infections in a sample population.
Concurrent, pre- and postintervention study.
Four general internal medicine wards at The Toronto Hospital, a 1170-bed, tertiary care health center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Patients receiving antimicrobial therapy for respiratory tract infections and skin/soft tissue infections.
Written guidelines and education sessions were presented to residents, interns, medical students, and pharmacists responsible for the care of patients admitted to four general internal medicine wards.
Clinical and laboratory parameters related to the status of the infection were monitored prospectively and compared with the course of drug therapy, with consideration of the patient's ability to meet the criteria established in the guidelines. The number of days of intravenous therapy prescribed despite appropriateness of oral therapy was tallied.
Twenty-seven patients (28 infections) were identified for inclusion in the 7-week preliminary audit, and 30 patients (32 infections) were included in the audit after the program, which continued for 5 weeks. Following implementation of the program, the number of days that intravenous therapy was continued despite the appropriateness of oral therapy was reduced from 41% to 26% of the total days of intravenous therapy prescribed.
The program had a positive influence on antimicrobial prescribing behavior in the population studied. Strategies to ensure continued benefit from the program have been developed.