Objectives: Reassessment of ongoing antibiotic therapy is an important step towards appropriate use of antibiotics. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of a short questionnaire designed to encourage reassessment of intravenous antibiotic therapy after 3 days.
Patients and methods: Patients hospitalized on the surgical and medical wards of a university hospital and treated with an intravenous antibiotic for 3-4 days were randomly allocated to either an intervention or control group. The intervention consisted of mailing to the physician in charge of the patient a three-item questionnaire referring to possible adaptation of the antibiotic therapy. The primary outcome was the time elapsed from randomization until a first modification of the initial intravenous antibiotic therapy. It was compared within both groups using Cox proportional-hazard modelling.
Results: One hundred and twenty-six eligible patients were randomized in the intervention group and 125 in the control group. Time to modification of intravenous antibiotic therapy was 14% shorter in the intervention group (adjusted hazard ratio for modification 1.28, 95% CI 0.99-1.67, P = 0.06). It was significantly shorter in the intervention group compared with a similar group of 151 patients observed during a 2 month period preceding the study (adjusted hazard ratio 1.17, 95% CI 1.03-1.32, P = 0.02).
Conclusion: The results suggest that a short questionnaire, easily adaptable to automatization, has the potential to foster reassessment of antibiotic therapy.