Impact of a Multidisciplinary Culture Follow-up Program of Antimicrobial Therapy in the Emergency Department

Infect Dis Ther. 2014 Jun;3(1):45-53. doi: 10.1007/s40121-014-0026-x. Epub 2014 Apr 29.


Introduction: Antimicrobial prescribing in the emergency department is predominantly empiric, with final microbiology results either unavailable or reported after most patients are discharged home. Systematic follow-up processes are needed to ensure appropriate antimicrobial therapy at this transition of care. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a culture follow-up (CFU) program on the frequency of emergency department (ED) revisits within 72 h and hospital admissions within 30 days compared to the historical standard of care (SOC). Additionally, infection characteristics and antimicrobial therapy were compared.

Methods: A single group, pre-test post-test quasi-experimental study was conducted comparing a retrospective SOC group to a prospective CFU group. CFU was implemented using computerized decision-support software and a multidisciplinary team of pharmacists and emergency physician staff.

Results: Over the four-month intervention period the CFU group evaluated 197 cultures and modified antimicrobial therapy in 25.5%. The rate of combined ED revisits within 72 h and hospital admissions within 30 days was 16.9% in the SOC group and 10.2% in the CFU group (p = 0.079). When evaluating the uninsured population alone, revisits to the ED within 72 h were reduced from 15.3% in the SOC group to 2.4% in the CFU group (p = 0.044).

Conclusion: Implementation of a multidisciplinary CFU program was associated with a reduction in ED revisits within 72 h and hospital admissions within 30 days. One-fourth of patients required post-discharge intervention, representing a large need for antimicrobial stewardship expansion to ED practice models.