Quality Improvement: Changing Patterns of Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Surgical Abortion

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Postprocedure infection complicates nearly 5% of abortions. Multiple organizations endorse prophylactic antibiotics to reduce infection risk with surgical abortion, but the adherence rate remains unknown for women who obtain antibiotics at a pharmacy and take them at home before their procedure. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of quality improvement interventions on antibiotic utilization and preoperative documentation for women undergoing surgical abortion at our academic institution.


An initial quality evaluation of antibiotic utilization by women who had abortions in our operating room between April 2012 and June 2013 revealed suboptimal antibiotic adherence and poor physician documentation. To address these issues, we recommended patients to fill prescriptions at the pharmacy located in the same building as our clinic and created a standard preoperative template for the medical record. We reexamined outcomes for women having abortions from April 2014 to June 2015.


Antibiotic adherence increased from 81% to 90% (p < .001). The proportion of patients not receiving antibiotics decreased from 2.4% to 0.5% (p = .01). Adherence documentation rates improved from 69% to 99% (p < .001).


Using an easily accessible pharmacy and a standard preoperative template improves utilization of prophylactic antibiotics for patients undergoing abortions in the operating room.

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