A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Electronic Clinical Decision Support Tool for Inpatient Antimicrobial Stewardship

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 May 4;72(9):e265-e271. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1048.


Background: The weighted incidence syndromic combination antibiogram (WISCA) is an antimicrobial stewardship tool that utilizes electronic medical record data to provide real-time clinical decision support regarding empiric antibiotic prescription in the hospital setting. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of WISCA utilization for empiric antibiotic prescription on hospital length of stay (LOS).

Methods: We performed a crossover randomized controlled trial of the WISCA tool at 4 hospitals. Study participants included adult inpatients receiving empiric antibiotics for urinary tract infection (UTI), abdominal-biliary infection (ABI), pneumonia, or nonpurulent cellulitis. Antimicrobial stewardship (ASP) physicians utilized WISCA and clinical guidelines to provide empiric antibiotic recommendations. The primary outcome was LOS. Secondary outcomes included 30-day mortality, 30-day readmission, Clostridioides difficile infection, acquisition of multidrug-resistant gram-negative organism (MDRO), and antibiotics costs.

Results: In total, 6849 participants enrolled in the study. There were no overall differences in outcomes among the intervention versus control groups. Participants with cellulitis in the intervention group had significantly shorter mean LOS compared to participants with cellulitis in the control group (coefficient estimate = 0.53 [-0.97, -0.09], P = .0186). For patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP), the intervention group had significantly lower odds of 30-day mortality compared to the control group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] .58, 95% confidence interval [CI], .396, .854, P = .02).

Conclusions: Use of WISCA was not associated with improved outcomes for UTI and ABI. Guidelines-based interventions were associated with decreased LOS for cellulitis and decreased mortality for CAP.

Keywords: antimicrobial stewardship; clinical decision support.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Electronics
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents