Audit and feedback to reduce broad-spectrum antibiotic use among intensive care unit patients: a controlled interrupted time series analysis

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;33(4):354-61. doi: 10.1086/664757.


Objective: We aimed to rigorously evaluate the impact of prospective audit and feedback on broad-spectrum antimicrobial use among critical care patients.

Design: Prospective, controlled interrupted time series.

Setting: Single tertiary care center with 3 intensive care units.

Patients and interventions: A formal review of all critical care patients on their third or tenth day of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy was conducted, and suggestions for antimicrobial optimization were communicated to the critical care team.

Outcomes: The primary outcome was broad-spectrum antibiotic use (days of therapy per 1000 patient-days; secondary outcomes included overall antibiotic use, gram-negative bacterial susceptibility, nosocomial Clostridium difficile infections, length of stay, and mortality.

Results: The mean monthly broad-spectrum antibiotic use decreased from 644 days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days in the preintervention period to 503 days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days in the postintervention period (P < .0001); time series modeling confirmed an immediate decrease (± standard error) of 119 ± 37.9 days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days (P = .0054). In contrast, no changes were identified in the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in the control group (nonintervention medical and surgical wards) or in the use of control medications in critical care (stress ulcer prophylaxis). The incidence of nosocomial C. difficile infections decreased from 11 to 6 cases in the study intensive care units, whereas the incidence increased from 87 to 116 cases in the control wards (P = .04). Overall gram-negative susceptibility to meropenem increased in the critical care units. Intensive care unit length of stay and mortality did not change.

Conclusions: Institution of a formal prospective audit and feedback program appears to be a safe and effective means to improve broad-spectrum antimicrobial use in critical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Critical Care / standards
  • Critical Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Costs
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Utilization / standards
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization Review / methods*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents