Background: Studies on the implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) in small hospitals are limited. Accreditation organizations now require all hospitals to have ASPs.
Methods: The objective of this cluster-randomized intervention was to assess the effectiveness of implementing ASPs in Intermountain Healthcare's 15 small hospitals. Each hospital was randomized to 1 of 3 ASPs of escalating intensity. Program 1 hospitals were provided basic antibiotic stewardship education and tools, access to an infectious disease hotline, and antibiotic utilization data. Program 2 hospitals received those interventions plus advanced education, audit and feedback for select antibiotics, and locally controlled antibiotic restrictions. Program 3 hospitals received program 2 interventions plus audit and feedback on the majority of antibiotics, and an infectious diseases-trained clinician approved restricted antibiotics and reviewed microbiology results. Changes in total and broad-spectrum antibiotic use within programs (intervention versus baseline) and the difference between programs in the magnitude of change in antibiotic use (eg, program 3 vs 1) were evaluated with mixed models.
Results: Program 3 hospitals showed reductions in total (rate ratio, 0.89; confidence interval, .80-.99) and broad-spectrum (0.76; .63-.91) antibiotic use when the intervention period was compared with the baseline period. Program 1 and 2 hospitals did not experience a reduction in antibiotic use. Comparison of the magnitude of effects between programs showed a similar trend favoring program 3, but this was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Only the most intensive ASP intervention was associated with reduction in total and broad-spectrum antibiotic use when compared with baseline.
Clinical trials registration: NCT03245879.