Antibiotic clinical decision support for pneumonia in the ED: A randomized trial

J Hosp Med. 2023 Jun;18(6):491-501. doi: 10.1002/jhm.13101. Epub 2023 Apr 12.


Background: Electronic health record-based clinical decision support (CDS) is a promising antibiotic stewardship strategy. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of antibiotic CDS in the pediatric emergency department (ED).

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of antibiotic CDS vs. usual care for promoting guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing for pneumonia in the pediatric ED.

Design: Pragmatic randomized clinical trial.

Setting and participants: Encounters for children (6 months-18 years) with pneumonia presenting to two tertiary care children s hospital EDs in the United States.

Intervention: CDS or usual care was randomly assigned during 4-week periods within each site. The CDS intervention provided antibiotic recommendations tailored to each encounter and in accordance with national guidelines.

Main outcome and measures: The primary outcome was exclusive guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing within the first 24 h of care. Safety outcomes included time to first antibiotic order, encounter length of stay, delayed intensive care, and 3- and 7-day revisits.

Results: 1027 encounters were included, encompassing 478 randomized to usual care and 549 to CDS. Exclusive guideline-concordant prescribing did not differ at 24 h (CDS, 51.7% vs. usual care, 53.3%; odds ratio [OR] 0.94 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.73, 1.20]). In pre-specified stratified analyses, CDS was associated with guideline-concordant prescribing among encounters discharged from the ED (74.9% vs. 66.0%; OR 1.53 [95% CI: 1.01, 2.33]), but not among hospitalized encounters. Mean time to first antibiotic was shorter in the CDS group (3.0 vs 3.4 h; p = .024). There were no differences in safety outcomes.

Conclusions: Effectiveness of ED-based antibiotic CDS was greatest among those discharged from the ED. Longitudinal interventions designed to target both ED and inpatient clinicians and to address common implementation challenges may enhance the effectiveness of CDS as a stewardship tool.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship*
  • Child
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Pneumonia* / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia* / drug therapy
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents