Use of a structured panel process to define quality metrics for antimicrobial stewardship programs

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 May;33(5):500-6. doi: 10.1086/665324. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


Introduction: Antimicrobial stewardship programs are being implemented in health care to reduce inappropriate antimicrobial use, adverse events, Clostridium difficile infection, and antimicrobial resistance. There is no standardized approach to evaluate the impact of these programs.

Objective: To use a structured panel process to define quality improvement metrics for evaluating antimicrobial stewardship programs in hospital settings that also have the potential to be used as part of public reporting efforts.

Design: A multiphase modified Delphi technique.

Setting: Paper-based survey supplemented with a 1-day consensus meeting.

Participants: A 10-member expert panel from Canada and the United States was assembled to evaluate indicators for relevance, effectiveness, and the potential to aid quality improvement efforts.

Results: There were a total of 5 final metrics selected by the panel: (1) days of therapy per 1000 patient-days; (2) number of patients with specific organisms that are drug resistant; (3) mortality related to antimicrobial-resistant organisms; (4) conservable days of therapy among patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTI), or sepsis and bloodstream infections (BSI); and (5) unplanned hospital readmission within 30 days after discharge from the hospital in which the most responsible diagnosis was one of CAP, SSTI, sepsis or BSI. The first and second indicators were also identified as useful for accountability purposes, such as public reporting.

Conclusion: We have successfully identified 2 measures for public reporting purposes and 5 measures that can be used internally in healthcare settings as quality indicators. These indicators can be implemented across diverse healthcare systems to enable ongoing evaluation of antimicrobial stewardship programs and complement efforts for improved patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Canada
  • Delphi Technique
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / drug effects*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • United States


  • Anti-Infective Agents