Impact of an electronic alert on prescription patterns of meropenem, voriconazole and caspofungin

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Dec 20;21(1):1263. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06980-1.


Background: Antimicrobial stewardship programs promote the appropriate use of antimicrobial substances through the implementation of evidence-based, active and passive interventions. We analyzed the effect of a computer-assisted intervention on antimicrobial use in a tertiary care hospital.

Methods: Between 2011 and 2016 we introduced an electronic alert for patients being prescribed meropenem, voriconazole and caspofungin. At prescription and at day 3 of treatment, physicians were informed about the risk related to these antimicrobial substances by an electronic alert in the medical records. Physicians were invited to revoke or confirm the prescription and to contact the infectious disease (ID) team. Using interrupted time series regression, the days of therapy (DOTs) and the number of prescriptions before and after the intervention were compared.

Results: We counted 64,281 DOTs for 5549 prescriptions during 4100 hospital stays. Overall, the DOTs decreased continuously over time. An additional benefit of the alert could not be observed. Similarly, the number of prescriptions decreased over time, without significant effect of the intervention. When considering the three drugs separately, the alert impacted the duration (change in slope of DOTs/1000 bed days; P = 0.0017) as well as the number of prescriptions (change in slope of prescriptions/1000 bed days; P < 0.001) of voriconazole only.

Conclusions: The introduction of the alert lowered prescriptions of voriconazole only. Thus, self-stewardship alone seems to have a limited impact on electronic prescriptions of anti-infective substances. Additional measures such as face-to-face prompting with ID physicians or audit and feedback are indispensable to optimize antimicrobial use.

Keywords: Antibiotic consumption; Antimicrobial consumption; Antimicrobial prescriptions; Antimicrobial stewardship; Electronic alert; Self-stewardship.

MeSH terms

  • Caspofungin / administration & dosage*
  • Electronic Prescribing*
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems*
  • Meropenem / administration & dosage*
  • Voriconazole / administration & dosage*


  • Caspofungin
  • Meropenem
  • Voriconazole