Pharmacist-driven antimicrobial optimization in the emergency department

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Abstract

Purpose

A pharmacist-driven antimicrobial optimization service in the non-trauma emergency department (ED) of an 864-bed non-profit tertiary care teaching hospital was reviewed to assess its value. Local antimicrobial resistance patterns of urine, wound, stool, and blood cultures were also studied to determine whether or not empiric prescribing practices should be modified.

Methods

A retrospective electronic chart review was performed for ED patients with positive cultures during two different three-month periods. During Period 1, ED nursing management performed positive culture follow-up. During Period 2, ED clinical pharmacists performed this role. The primary objective was to determine the value of the pharmacist-driven antimicrobial optimization service as measured by the number of clinical interventions made when indicated. The secondary objective was to examine resistance patterns of urine and wound isolates in order to determine if empiric prescribing patterns in the ED should be modified.

Results

During Period 1, there were 499 patient visits with subsequent positive cultures. Of those, 76 patients (15%) were discharged home. Nursing management intervened on 21 of 42 (50%) positive cultures that required an intervention; in Period 2, there were 473 patient visits with subsequent positive cultures, and 64 (14%) were discharged home. Pharmacists intervened on 24 of 30 (80%) cultures where an intervention was indicated resulting in a 30% increase in interventions for inappropriate therapy (p = 0.01). A review of the secondary objective revealed a 38% fluoroquinolone resistance rate of E. coli, the most frequently isolated urinary organism.

Conclusion

Pharmacist-driven antimicrobial stewardship program resulted in a 30% absolute increase in interventions for inappropriate therapy as compared to the nursing-driven model. This stewardship program has further demonstrated the value of ED pharmacists. Pharmacist interventions should help to ensure that infections are resolved through modification of antimicrobial therapies for patients with bug-drug mismatches. The fluoroquinolone resistance rate indicates a need to consider alternative therapies for uncomplicated urinary tract infections. Nitrofurantoin remains with good coverage against E. coli and Enterococcus species but should be used in uncomplicated patients with normal renal function.

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