Management of Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections Before and After Clinical Pathway Implementation

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Abstract

We evaluated if the introduction of a clinical pathway for skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) would reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-directed therapy for simple cellulitis and antibiotic use for simple abscess after drainage. We compared the treatment of SSTI during a 3-month prepathway and 11-month postpathway period. We included patients 57 days to 18 years old discharged from the emergency department (ED) with a diagnosis of cellulitis or abscess. Balancing measures included 72-hour revisit rate and ED length of stay (LOS). A total of 291 patients prepathway and 781 patients postpathway were included. The proportion of patients with simple cellulitis prescribed MRSA-directed therapy decreased from 81% to 54% postpathway. The proportion of patients with a drained abscess prescribed systemic antibiotics decreased from 88% to 75%. There was no increase in 72-hour revisit rates (3.8% vs 3.2%, P = .64) or ED LOS (2.8 vs 2.7 hours, P = .05).

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