Implementing antibiotic stewardship in high-prescribing English general practices: a mixed-methods study
Tonkin-Crine S., McLeod M., Borek AJ., Campbell A., Anyanwu P., Costelloe C., Moore M., Hayhoe B., Pouwels KB., Roope LSJ., Morrell L., Hopkins S., Butler CC., Walker AS.
BackgroundTrials have identified antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) strategies that effectively reduce antibiotic use in primary care. However, many are not commonly used in England. The authors co-developed an implementation intervention to improve use of three AMS strategies: enhanced communication strategies, delayed prescriptions, and point-of-care C-reactive protein tests (POC-CRPTs).AimTo investigate the use of the intervention in high-prescribing practices and its effect on antibiotic prescribing.Design and settingNine high-prescribing practices had access to the intervention for 12 months from November 2019. This was primarily delivered remotely via a website with practices required to identify an ‘antibiotic champion’.MethodRoutinely collected prescribing data were compared between the intervention and the control practices. Intervention use was assessed through monitoring. Surveys and interviews were conducted with professionals to capture experiences of using the intervention.ResultsThere was no evidence that the intervention affected prescribing. Engagement with intervention materials differed substantially between practices and depended on individual champions’ preconceptions of strategies and the opportunity to conduct implementation tasks. Champions in five practices initiated changes to encourage use of at least one AMS strategy, mostly POC-CRPTs; one practice chose all three. POC-CRPTs was used more when allocated to one person.ConclusionClinicians need detailed information on exactly how to adopt AMS strategies. Remote, one-sided provision of AMS strategies is unlikely to change prescribing; initial clinician engagement and understanding needs to be monitored to avoid misunderstanding and suboptimal use.