Evaluating the Implementation of a Pilot Quality Improvement Program to Support Appropriate Antimicrobial Prescribing in General Practice

Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Jul 16;10(7):867. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10070867.


Inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing contributes to increasing antimicrobial resistance. An antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) program in the form of quality improvement activities that included audit and feedback, clinical decision support and education was developed to help optimise prescribing in general practice. The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of this program (Guidance GP) in three general practices in Melbourne, Australia, between November 2019 and August 2020. Thirty-one general practitioners (GPs) participated in the program, with 11 GPs and three practice managers participating in follow-up focus groups and interviews to explore the acceptability and feasibility of the program. Our findings showed that the quality improvement activities were acceptable to GPs, if they accurately fit GPs' decision-making process and workflow. It was also important that they provided clinically meaningful information in the form of audit and feedback to GPs. The time needed to coordinate the program, and costs to implement the program were some of the potential barriers identified. Facilitators of success were a "whole of practice" approach with enthusiastic GPs and practice staff, and an identified practice champion. The findings of this research will inform implementation strategies for both the Guidance GP program and AMS programs more broadly in Australian general practice, which will be critical for general practice participation and engagement.

Keywords: antibiotics; antimicrobial stewardship; audit and feedback; general practice; general practitioner; inappropriate prescribing; practice manager; prescribing; primary care; quality improvement.