Overtreatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria: Identifying provider barriers to evidence-based care

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Inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) is a significant contributor to antibiotic overuse in hospitalized patients despite evidence-based guidelines on ASB management. We surveyed whether accurate knowledge of how to manage catheter-associated urine cultures was associated with level of training, familiarity with ASB guidelines, and various cognitive-behavioral constructs.


We used a survey to measure respondents' knowledge of how to manage catheter-associated bacteriuria, familiarity with the content of the relevant Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines, and cognitive-behavioral constructs. The survey was administered to 169 residents and staff providers.


The mean knowledge score was 57.5%, or slightly over one-half of the questions answered correctly. The overall knowledge score improved significantly with level of training (P < .0001). Only 42% of respondents reported greater than minimal recall of ASB guideline contents. Self-efficacy, behavior, risk perceptions, social norms, and guideline familiarity were individually correlated with knowledge score (P < .01). In multivariable analysis, behavior, risk perception, and year of training were correlated with knowledge score (P < .05).


Knowledge of how to manage catheter-associated bacteriuria according to evidence-based guidelines increases with experience. Addressing both knowledge gaps and relevant cognitive biases early in training may decrease the inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat ASB.

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