Special Issue "Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care"

A special issue of Antibiotics (ISSN 2079-6382). This special issue belongs to the section "Antibiotics Use and Antimicrobial Stewardship".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Donna M Lecky

Guest Editor
National Infection Service, Public Health England, UK
Interests: primary care; stewardship; antibiotic resistance; qualitative

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Antibiotic resistance is a global issue, with 33,000 people dying every year due to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is well known that overuse and misuse of antibiotics is directly linked to resistance, and that many of these antibiotics are prescribed in the primary care setting.

The need for antimicrobial stewardship has never been greater, and in recent years, there have been numerous stewardship activities aimed at turning the tide of resistance. Although it is important to take a One Health approach to stewardship, this Special Edition focuses on antimicrobial stewardship in primary care and will consist of 10–15 manuscripts, which may include original research, review articles, case series, and opinion papers. We are interested in both qualitative and quantitative research across the following areas:

1. Antimicrobial stewardship initiatives across different primary care sectors (e.g., general practice, pharmacy, dental, care homes);
2. Antimicrobial stewardship initiatives for specific conditions (e.g., UTI, RTI);
3. Impact of antimicrobial stewardship on quality performance measures and/or patient outcomes;
4. Antibiotic guidance and audits;
5. Development of antimicrobial stewardship initiatives;
6. Evaluation and impact of antimicrobial stewardship initiatives;
7. Antimicrobial stewardship and social media.

Dr. Donna M Lecky
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Antibiotics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • primary care
  • stewardship
  • antibiotic resistance
  • qualitative
  • AMS campaign

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Awareness of Appropriate Antibiotic Use in Primary Care for Influenza-Like Illness: Evidence of Improvement from UK Population-Based Surveys
Antibiotics 2020, 9(10), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9100690 - 13 Oct 2020
Abstract
Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) account for a significant portion of inappropriate antibiotic use. Patient expectations for antibiotics for ILI are likely to play a substantial role in ‘unnecessary’ antibiotic consumption. This study aimed to investigate trends in awareness of appropriate antibiotic use and antimicrobial [...] Read more.
Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) account for a significant portion of inappropriate antibiotic use. Patient expectations for antibiotics for ILI are likely to play a substantial role in ‘unnecessary’ antibiotic consumption. This study aimed to investigate trends in awareness of appropriate antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Three sequential online surveys of independent representative samples of adults in the United Kingdom investigated expectations for, and consumption of, antibiotics for ILI (May/June 2015 (n = 2064); Oct/Nov 2016 (n = 4000); Mar 2017 (n = 4000)). Respondents were asked whether they thought antibiotics were effective for ILI and about their antibiotic use. Proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each question and interactions with respondent characteristics were tested using logistic regression. Over the three surveys, the proportion of respondents who believed antibiotics would “definitely/probably” help an ILI fell from 37% (95% CI 35–39%) to 28% (95% CI 26–29%). Those who would “definitely/probably” visit a doctor in this situation fell from 48% (95% CI 46–50%) to 36% (95% CI 34–37%), while those who would request antibiotics during a consultation fell from 39% (95% CI 37–41%) to 30% (95% CI 29–32%). The percentage of respondents who found the information we provided about AMR “new/surprising” fell from 34% (95% CI 32–36%) to 28% (95% CI 26–31%). Awareness improved more among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) than white people, with little other evidence of differences in improvements between subgroups. Whilst a degree of selection bias is unavoidable in online survey samples, the results suggest that awareness of AMR and appropriate antibiotic use has recently significantly improved in the United Kingdom, according to a wide range of indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Antibiotic Surveillance and Stewardship via Indication-Linked Quality Indicators: Pilot in Dutch Primary Care
Antibiotics 2020, 9(10), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9100670 - 03 Oct 2020
Abstract
Insight into antibiotic prescribing quality is key to general practitioners (GPs) to improve their prescribing behavior and to national antibiotic surveillance and stewardship programs. Additionally to numbers of prescribed antibiotics, quality indicators (QIs) linked to the clinical indication for prescribing are urgently needed. [...] Read more.
Insight into antibiotic prescribing quality is key to general practitioners (GPs) to improve their prescribing behavior and to national antibiotic surveillance and stewardship programs. Additionally to numbers of prescribed antibiotics, quality indicators (QIs) linked to the clinical indication for prescribing are urgently needed. The aim of this proof of concept study was to define indication-linked QIs which can be easily implemented in Dutch primary care by collaborating with data-extraction/processing companies that routinely process patient data for GP practices. An expert group of academic and practicing GPs defined indication-linked QIs for which outcomes can be derived from routine care data. QI outcomes were calculated and fed back to GPs from 44 practices, associations between QI outcomes were determined, and GPs’ opinions and suggestions with respect to the new set were captured using an online questionnaire. The new set comprises: (1) total number of prescribed antibiotics per 1000 registered patients and percentages of generally non-1st choice antibiotics; (2) prescribing percentages for episodes of upper and lower respiratory tract infection; (3) 1st choice prescribing for episodes of tonsillitis, pneumonia and cystitis in women. Large inter-practice variation in QI outcomes was found. The validity of the QI outcomes was confirmed by associations that were expected. The new set was highly appreciated by GPs and additional QIs were suggested. We conclude that it proved feasible to provide GPs with informative, indication-linked feedback of their antibiotic prescribing quality by collaborating with established data extraction/processing companies. Based on GPs’ suggestions the set will be refined and extended and used in the near future as yearly feedback with benchmarking for GPs and for national surveillance and stewardship purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle
Delayed Antibiotic Prescription by General Practitioners in the UK: A Stated-Choice Study
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090608 - 16 Sep 2020
Abstract
Delayed antibiotic prescription in primary care has been shown to reduce antibiotic consumption, without increasing risk of complications, yet is not widely used in the UK. We sought to quantify the relative importance of factors affecting the decision to give a delayed prescription, [...] Read more.
Delayed antibiotic prescription in primary care has been shown to reduce antibiotic consumption, without increasing risk of complications, yet is not widely used in the UK. We sought to quantify the relative importance of factors affecting the decision to give a delayed prescription, using a stated-choice survey among UK general practitioners. Respondents were asked whether they would provide a delayed or immediate prescription in fifteen hypothetical consultations, described by eight attributes. They were also asked if they would prefer not to prescribe antibiotics. The most important determinants of choice between immediate and delayed prescription were symptoms, duration of illness, and the presence of multiple comorbidities. Respondents were more likely to choose a delayed prescription if the patient preferred not to have antibiotics, but consultation length had little effect. When given the option, respondents chose not to prescribe antibiotics in 51% of cases, with delayed prescription chosen in 21%. Clinical features remained important. Patient preference did not affect the decision to give no antibiotics. We suggest that broader dissemination of the clinical evidence supporting use of delayed prescription for specific presentations may help increase appropriate use. Establishing patient preferences regarding antibiotics may help to overcome concerns about patient acceptance. Increasing consultation length appears unlikely to affect the use of delayed prescription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Preventing and Managing Urinary Tract Infections: Enhancing the Role of Community Pharmacists—A Mixed Methods Study
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090583 - 07 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: Community pharmacists are involved in antimicrobial stewardship through self-care advice and delivering medications for uncomplicated infections. Objectives: This mixed methods study aimed to identify opportunities to enhance the role of community pharmacists in the management of service users with suspected or confirmed [...] Read more.
Background: Community pharmacists are involved in antimicrobial stewardship through self-care advice and delivering medications for uncomplicated infections. Objectives: This mixed methods study aimed to identify opportunities to enhance the role of community pharmacists in the management of service users with suspected or confirmed urinary tract infection (UTI). Methods: Data collection was through a service user survey (n = 51) and pharmacist surveys and semi-structured interviews before (16 interviews, 22 questionnaires) and after (15 interviews, 16 questionnaires) trialing UTI leaflets designed to be shared with service users. Data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis and descriptive tabulation of quantitative data. Results: Twenty-five percent (n = 13/51) of service users with urinary symptoms sought help from a pharmacist first and 65% (n = 33/51) were comfortable discussing their urinary symptoms with a pharmacist in a private space. Community pharmacists were confident as the first professional contact for service users with uncomplicated UTI (n = 13/16, 81%), but indicated the lack of a specific patient referral pathway (n = 16/16, 100%), the need for additional funding and staff (n = 10/16, 62%), and the importance of developing prescription options for pharmacists (5/16, 31%). All community pharmacists reported playing a daily role in controlling antimicrobial resistance by educating service users about viral and bacterial infections and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Enhancing their role will need greater integrated working with general practices and more prescribers based in community pharmacy. Conclusion: This study suggests that community pharmacists could play a greater role in the management of uncomplicated UTI. The current reconfiguration of primary care in England with primary care networks and integrated care systems could provide a real opportunity for this collaborative working with potential learning for international initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Diagnosis and Management of UTI in Primary Care Settings—A Qualitative Study to Inform a Diagnostic Quick Reference Tool for Women Under 65 Years
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090581 - 07 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: To inform interventions to improve antimicrobial use in urinary tract infections (UTIs) and contribute to a reduction in Escherichia coli bloodstream infection, we explored factors influencing the diagnosis and management of UTIs in primary care. Design: Semi-structured focus groups informed by the [...] Read more.
Background: To inform interventions to improve antimicrobial use in urinary tract infections (UTIs) and contribute to a reduction in Escherichia coli bloodstream infection, we explored factors influencing the diagnosis and management of UTIs in primary care. Design: Semi-structured focus groups informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework. Setting: General practice (GP) surgeries in two English clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), June 2017 to March 2018. Participants: A total of 57 GP staff within 8 focus groups. Results: Staff were very aware of common UTI symptoms and nitrofurantoin as first-line treatment, but some were less aware about when to send a urine culture, second-line and non-antibiotic management, and did not probe for signs and symptoms to specifically exclude vaginal causes or pyelonephritis before prescribing. Many consultations were undertaken over the phone, many by nurse practitioners, and followed established protocols that often included urine dipsticks and receptionists. Patient expectations increased use of urine dipsticks, and immediate and 5 days courses of antibiotics. Management decisions were also influenced by patient co-morbidities. No participants had undertaken recent UTI audits. Patient discussions around antibiotic resistance and back-up antibiotics were uncommon compared to consultations for respiratory infections. Conclusions: Knowledge and skill gaps could be addressed with education and clear, accessible, UTI diagnostic and management guidance and protocols that are also appropriate for phone consultations. Public antibiotic campaigns and patient-facing information should cover UTIs, non-pharmaceutical recommendations for “self-care”, prevention and rationale for 3 days antibiotic courses. Practices should be encouraged to audit UTI management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Clinician and Patient Factors Influencing Treatment Decisions: Ethnographic Study of Antibiotic Prescribing and Operative Procedures in Out-of-Hours and General Dental Practices
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090575 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Operative treatment is indicated for most toothache/dental abscesses, yet antibiotics instead of procedures are often prescribed. This ethnographic study aimed to identify clinician and patient factors influencing urgent dental care for adults during actual appointments; and to identify elements sensitive to context. Appointments [...] Read more.
Operative treatment is indicated for most toothache/dental abscesses, yet antibiotics instead of procedures are often prescribed. This ethnographic study aimed to identify clinician and patient factors influencing urgent dental care for adults during actual appointments; and to identify elements sensitive to context. Appointments were observed in out-of-hours and general dental practices. Follow-up interviews took place with dentists, dental nurses, and patients. Dentist and patient factors were identified through thematic analysis of observation records and appointment/interview transcripts. Dentist factors were based on a published list of factors influencing antibiotic prescribing for adults with acute conditions across primary health care and presented within the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behaviour model. Contextually sensitive elements were revealed by comparing the factors between settings. In total, thirty-one dentist factors and nineteen patient factors were identified. Beliefs about antibiotics, goals for the appointment and access to dental services were important for both dentists and patients. Dentist factors included beliefs about the lifetime impact of urgent dental procedures on patients. Patient factors included their communication and negotiation skills. Contextual elements included dentists’ concerns about inflicting pain on regular patients in general dental practice; and patients’ difficulties accessing care to complete temporary treatment provided out of hours. This improved understanding of factors influencing shared decisions about treatments presents significant opportunity for new, evidence-based, contextually sensitive antibiotic stewardship interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Guideline Adherence in Antibiotic Prescribing to Patients with Respiratory Diseases in Primary Care: Prevalence and Practice Variation
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090571 - 03 Sep 2020
Abstract
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) account for a large part of antibiotic prescriptions in primary care. However, guidelines advise restrictive antibiotic prescribing for RTIs. Only in certain circumstances, depending on, e.g., comorbidity, are antibiotics indicated. Most studies on guideline adherence do not account for [...] Read more.
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) account for a large part of antibiotic prescriptions in primary care. However, guidelines advise restrictive antibiotic prescribing for RTIs. Only in certain circumstances, depending on, e.g., comorbidity, are antibiotics indicated. Most studies on guideline adherence do not account for this. We aimed to assess guideline adherence for antibiotic prescribing for RTIs as well as its variation between general practices (GPs), accounting for patient characteristics. We used data from electronic health records of GPs in the Netherlands. We selected patients who consulted their GP for acute cough, rhinitis, rhinosinusitis or sore throat in 2014. For each disease episode we assessed whether, according to the GP guideline, there was an indication for antibiotics, using the patient’s sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidity and co-medication. We assessed antibiotic prescribing for episodes with no or an unsure indication according to the guidelines. We analysed 248,896 episodes. Diagnoses with high rates of antibiotic prescribing when there was no indication include acute tonsillitis (57%), strep throat (56%), acute bronchitis (51%) and acute sinusitis (48%). Prescribing rates vary greatly between diagnoses and practices. Reduction of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing remains a key target to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Insight into reasons for guideline non-adherence may guide successful implementation of the variety of interventions already available for GPs and patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Validating Use of Electronic Health Data to Identify Patients with Urinary Tract Infections in Outpatient Settings
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090536 - 25 Aug 2020
Abstract
Objective: To validate the use of electronic algorithms based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 codes to identify outpatient visits for urinary tract infections (UTI), one of the most common reasons for antibiotic prescriptions. Methods: ICD-10 symptom codes (e.g., dysuria) alone or in [...] Read more.
Objective: To validate the use of electronic algorithms based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 codes to identify outpatient visits for urinary tract infections (UTI), one of the most common reasons for antibiotic prescriptions. Methods: ICD-10 symptom codes (e.g., dysuria) alone or in addition to UTI diagnosis codes plus prescription of a UTI-relevant antibiotic were used to identify outpatient UTI visits. Chart review (gold standard) was performed by two reviewers to confirm diagnosis of UTI. The positive predictive value (PPV) that the visit was for UTI (based on chart review) was calculated for three different ICD-10 code algorithms using (1) symptoms only, (2) diagnosis only, or (3) both. Results: Of the 1087 visits analyzed, symptom codes only had the lowest PPV for UTI (PPV = 55.4%; 95%CI: 49.3–61.5%). Diagnosis codes alone resulted in a PPV of 85% (PPV = 84.9%; 95%CI: 81.1–88.2%). The highest PPV was obtained by using both symptom and diagnosis codes together to identify visits with UTI (PPV = 96.3%; 95%CI: 94.5–97.9%). Conclusions: ICD-10 diagnosis codes with or without symptom codes reliably identify UTI visits; symptom codes alone are not reliable. ICD-10 based algorithms are a valid method to study UTIs in primary care settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Content and Mechanism of Action of National Antimicrobial Stewardship Interventions on Management of Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary and Community Care
Antibiotics 2020, 9(8), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9080512 - 13 Aug 2020
Abstract
A major modifiable factor contributing to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is inappropriate use and overuse of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics. This study aimed to describe the content and mechanism of action of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) interventions to improve appropriate antibiotic use for respiratory tract [...] Read more.
A major modifiable factor contributing to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is inappropriate use and overuse of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics. This study aimed to describe the content and mechanism of action of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) interventions to improve appropriate antibiotic use for respiratory tract infections (RTI) in primary and community care. This study also aimed to describe who these interventions were aimed at and the specific behaviors targeted for change. Evidence-based guidelines, peer-review publications, and infection experts were consulted to identify behaviors relevant to AMS for RTI in primary care and interventions to target these behaviors. Behavior change tools were used to describe the content of interventions. Theoretical frameworks were used to describe mechanisms of action. A total of 32 behaviors targeting six different groups were identified (patients; prescribers; community pharmacists; providers; commissioners; providers and commissioners). Thirty-nine interventions targeting the behaviors were identified (patients = 15, prescribers = 22, community pharmacy staff = 8, providers = 18, and commissioners = 18). Interventions targeted a mean of 5.8 behaviors (range 1–27). Influences on behavior most frequently targeted by interventions were psychological capability (knowledge and skills); reflective motivation (beliefs about consequences, intentions, social/professional role and identity); and physical opportunity (environmental context and resources). Interventions were most commonly characterized as achieving change by training, enabling, or educating and were delivered mainly through guidelines, service provision, and communications & marketing. Interventions included a mean of four Behavior Change Techniques (BCTs) (range 1–14). We identified little intervention content targeting automatic motivation and social opportunity influences on behavior. The majority of interventions focussed on education and training, which target knowledge and skills though the provision of instructions on how to perform a behavior and information about health consequences. Interventions could be refined with the inclusion of relevant BCTs, such as goal-setting and action planning (identified in only a few interventions), to translate instruction on how to perform a behavior into action. This study provides a platform to refine content and plan evaluation of antimicrobial stewardship interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Prescriber Commitment Posters to Increase Prudent Antibiotic Prescribing in English General Practice: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
Antibiotics 2020, 9(8), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9080490 - 07 Aug 2020
Abstract
Unnecessary antibiotic prescribing contributes to Antimicrobial Resistance posing a major public health risk. Estimates suggest as many as half of antibiotics prescribed for respiratory infections may be unnecessary. We conducted a three-armed unblinded cluster randomized controlled trial (ISRCTN trial registry 83322985). Interventions were [...] Read more.
Unnecessary antibiotic prescribing contributes to Antimicrobial Resistance posing a major public health risk. Estimates suggest as many as half of antibiotics prescribed for respiratory infections may be unnecessary. We conducted a three-armed unblinded cluster randomized controlled trial (ISRCTN trial registry 83322985). Interventions were a commitment poster (CP) advocating safe antibiotic prescribing or a CP plus an antimicrobial stewardship message (AM) on telephone appointment booking lines, tested against a usual care control group. The primary outcome measure was antibiotic item dispensing rates per 1000 population adjusted for practice demographics. The outcome measures for post-hoc analysis were dispensing rates of antibiotics usually prescribed for upper respiratory tract infections and broad spectrum antibiotics. In total, 196 practice units were randomized to usual care (n = 60), CP (n = 66), and CP&AM (n = 70). There was no effect on the overall dispensing rates for either interventions compared to usual care (CP 5.673, 95%CI −9.768 to 21.113, p = 0.458; CP&AM, −12.575, 95%CI −30.726 to 5.576, p = 0.167). Secondary analysis, which included pooling the data into one model, showed a significant effect of the AM (−18.444, 95%CI −32.596 to −4.292, p = 0.012). Fewer penicillins and macrolides were prescribed in the CP&AM intervention compared to usual care (−12.996, 95% CI −34.585 to −4.913, p = 0.018). Commitment posters did not reduce antibiotic prescribing. An automated patient antimicrobial stewardship message showed effects and requires further testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimising Interventions for Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) in Primary, Secondary and Care Home Settings
Antibiotics 2020, 9(7), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9070419 - 17 Jul 2020
Abstract
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are common yet preventable. Healthcare professional behaviours, such as reducing unnecessary catheter use, are key for preventing CAUTI. Previous research has focused on identifying gaps in the national response to CAUTI in multiple settings in England. This study [...] Read more.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are common yet preventable. Healthcare professional behaviours, such as reducing unnecessary catheter use, are key for preventing CAUTI. Previous research has focused on identifying gaps in the national response to CAUTI in multiple settings in England. This study aimed to identify how national interventions could be optimised. We conducted a multi-method study comprising: a rapid review of research on interventions to reduce CAUTI; a behavioural analysis of effective research interventions compared to national interventions; and a stakeholder focus group and survey to identify the most promising options for optimising interventions. We identified 37 effective research interventions, mostly conducted in United States secondary care. A behavioural analysis of these interventions identified 39 intervention components as possible ways to optimise national interventions. Seven intervention components were prioritised by stakeholders. These included: checklists for discharge/admission to wards; information for patients and relatives about the pros/cons of catheters; setting and profession specific guidelines; standardised nationwide computer-based documentation; promotion of alternatives to catheter use; CAUTI champions; and bladder scanners. By combining research evidence, behavioural analysis and stakeholder feedback, we identified how national interventions to reduce CAUTI could be improved. The seven prioritised components should be considered for future implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Tailored, Complex Intervention for Clinical Reflection and Communication about Suspected Urinary Tract Infections in Nursing Home Residents
Antibiotics 2020, 9(6), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9060360 - 25 Jun 2020
Abstract
Background: Inappropriate antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in nursing homes cause the development of resistant bacteria. Nonspecific symptoms and asymptomatic bacteriuria are drivers of overtreatment. Nursing home staff provide general practice with information about ailing residents; therefore, their knowledge and communication [...] Read more.
Background: Inappropriate antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in nursing homes cause the development of resistant bacteria. Nonspecific symptoms and asymptomatic bacteriuria are drivers of overtreatment. Nursing home staff provide general practice with information about ailing residents; therefore, their knowledge and communication skills influence prescribing. This paper describes the development of a tailored, complex intervention for a cluster-randomised trial that targets the knowledge of UTI and communication skills in nursing home staff to reduce antibiotic prescriptions. Methods: A dialogue tool was drafted, drawing on participatory observations in nursing homes, interviews with stakeholders, and a survey in general practice. The tool was tailored through a five-phase process that included stakeholders. Finally, the tool and a case-based educational session were tested in a pilot study. Results: The main barriers were that complex patients were evaluated by healthcare staff with limited knowledge about disease and clinical reasoning; findings reported to general practice were insignificant and included vague descriptions; there was evidence of previous opinion bias; nonspecific symptoms were interpreted as UTI; intuitive reasoning led to the inappropriate suspicion of UTI. Conclusion: Sustainable change in antibiotic-prescribing behaviour in nursing homes requires a change in nursing home staff’s beliefs about and management of UTIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Infectious Disease and Primary Care Research—What English General Practitioners Say They Need
Antibiotics 2020, 9(5), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9050265 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Infections are one of the most common reasons for patients attending primary care. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is perhaps one of the biggest threats to modern medicine; data show that 81% of antibiotics in the UK are prescribed in primary care. Aim: To [...] Read more.
Background: Infections are one of the most common reasons for patients attending primary care. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is perhaps one of the biggest threats to modern medicine; data show that 81% of antibiotics in the UK are prescribed in primary care. Aim: To identify where the perceived gaps in knowledge, skills, guidance and research around infections and antibiotic use lie from the general practitioner (GP) viewpoint. Design and Setting: An online questionnaire survey. Method: The survey, based on questions asked of Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) members in 1999, and covering letter were electronically sent to GPs between May and August 2017 via various primary care dissemination routes. Results: Four hundred and twenty-eight GPs responded. Suspected Infection in the elderly, recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI), surveillance of AMR in the community, leg ulcers, persistent cough and cellulitis all fell into the top six conditions ranked in order of importance that require further research, evidence and guidance. Acute sore throat, otitis media and sinusitis were of lower importance than in 1999. Conclusion: This survey will help the NHS, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and researchers to prioritise for the development of guidance and research for chronic conditions highlighted for which there is little evidence base for diagnostic and management guidelines in primary care. In contrast, 20 years of investment into research, guidance and resources for acute respiratory infections have successfully reduced these as priority areas for GPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Reported Antimicrobial Stewardship Practices in Primary Care Using the TARGET Antibiotics Self-Assessment Tool
Antibiotics 2020, 9(5), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9050253 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
The self-assessment tool (SAT) is a 16-question self-report of antimicrobial stewardship practices in primary care, available in the TARGET (Treat Antibiotics Responsibly, Guidance Education and Tools) Antibiotics Toolkit. This study analysed responses to the SAT and compared them to previous SAT data (2014–2016). [...] Read more.
The self-assessment tool (SAT) is a 16-question self-report of antimicrobial stewardship practices in primary care, available in the TARGET (Treat Antibiotics Responsibly, Guidance Education and Tools) Antibiotics Toolkit. This study analysed responses to the SAT and compared them to previous SAT data (2014–2016). Data from June 2016 to September 2019 were anonymised and analysed using Microsoft Excel and STATA 15. Clinicians reported engaging in positive antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) practices including using antibiotic guidance to inform treatment decisions (98%, 98% 2014–2016), discussing antibiotic prescribing within the practice (73%, 67% 2014–2016), using patient-facing resources (94%, 71% 2014–2016), conducting antibiotic audits in the last two years (98%, 45% 2014–2016), keeping written records and action plans (81%, 62% 2014–2016), using back-up prescribing (99%, 94% 2014–2016) and using clinical coding (80%, 75% 2014–2016). Areas for improvement include developing strategies to avoid patients reconsulting to obtain antibiotics (45%, 33% 2014–2016), undertaking infection-related learning (37%, 29% 2014–2016), ensuring all temporary prescribers have access to antibiotic guidance (55%, 63% 2014–2016) and making patient information leaflets easily available during consultations (31%). The findings offer a unique insight into AMS in primary care over time. The SAT gives primary care clinicians and commissioners an opportunity to reflect on their AMS and learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Teacher and Student Views on the Feasibility of Peer to Peer Education as a Model to Educate 16–18 Year Olds on Prudent Antibiotic Use—A Qualitative Study
Antibiotics 2020, 9(4), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9040194 - 19 Apr 2020
Abstract
Peer education (PE) has been used successfully to improve young peoples’ health-related behaviour. This paper describes a qualitative evaluation of the feasibility of university healthcare students delivering PE, covering self-care and antibiotic use for infections, to biology students in three UK schools (16–18 [...] Read more.
Peer education (PE) has been used successfully to improve young peoples’ health-related behaviour. This paper describes a qualitative evaluation of the feasibility of university healthcare students delivering PE, covering self-care and antibiotic use for infections, to biology students in three UK schools (16–18 years), who then educated their peers. Twenty peer educators (PEds) participated in focus groups and two teachers took part in interviews to discuss PE feasibility. Data were analysed inductively. All participants reported that teaching students about antibiotic resistance was important. PE was used by PEds to gain communication skills and experience for their CV. PEds confidence increased with practice and group delivery. Interactive activities and real-life illness scenarios facilitated enjoyment. Barriers to PE were competing school priorities, no antibiotic content in the non-biology curriculum, controlling disruptive behaviour, and evaluation consent and questionnaire completion. Participation increased PEds’ awareness of appropriate antibiotic use. This qualitative study supports the feasibility of delivering PE in schools. Maximising interactive and illness scenario content, greater training and support for PEds, and inclusion of infection self-care and antibiotics in the national curriculum for all 16–18-year olds could help facilitate greater antibiotic education in schools. Simplifying consent and data collection procedures would facilitate future evaluations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle
What Resources Do NHS Commissioning Organisations Use to Support Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care in England?
Antibiotics 2020, 9(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9040158 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Professional education and public engagement are fundamental components of any antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) strategy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and other professional organisations, develop and publish resources to support AMS activity [...] Read more.
Professional education and public engagement are fundamental components of any antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) strategy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and other professional organisations, develop and publish resources to support AMS activity in primary care settings. The aim of this study was to explore the adoption and use of education/training and supporting AMS resources within NHS primary care in England. Questionnaires were sent to the medicines management teams of all 209 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England, in 2017. Primary care practitioners in 168/175 (96%) CCGs received AMS education in the last two years. Respondents in 184/186 (99%) CCGs reported actively promoting the TARGET Toolkit to their primary care practitioners; although 137/176 (78%) did not know what percentage of primary care practitioners used the TARGET toolkit. All respondents were aware of Antibiotic Guardian and 132/167 (79%) reported promoting the campaign. Promotion of AMS resources to general practices is currently excellent, but as evaluation of uptake or effect is poor, this should be encouraged by resource providers and through quality improvement programmes. Trainers should be encouraged to promote and highlight the importance of action planning within their AMS training. AMS resources, such as leaflets and education, should be promoted across the whole health economy, including Out of Hours and care homes. Primary care practitioners should continue to be encouraged to display a signed Antibiotic Guardian poster as well as general AMS posters and videos in practice, as patients find them useful and noticeable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle
Peer-Education as a Tool to Educate on Antibiotics, Resistance and Use in 16–18-Year-Olds: A Feasibility Study
Antibiotics 2020, 9(4), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9040146 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Peer education (PE) interventions may help improve knowledge and appropriate use of antibiotics in young adults. In this feasibility study, health-care students were trained to educate 16–18 years old biology students, who then educated their non-biology peers, using e-Bug antibiotic lessons. Knowledge was [...] Read more.
Peer education (PE) interventions may help improve knowledge and appropriate use of antibiotics in young adults. In this feasibility study, health-care students were trained to educate 16–18 years old biology students, who then educated their non-biology peers, using e-Bug antibiotic lessons. Knowledge was assessed by questionnaires, and antibiotic use by questionnaire, SMS messaging and GP record searches. Five of 17 schools approached participated (3 PE and 2 control (usual lessons)). 59% (10/17) of university students and 28% (15/54) of biology students volunteered as peer-educators. PE was well-received; 30% (38/127) intervention students and 55% (66/120) control students completed all questionnaires. Antibiotic use from GP medical records (54/136, 40% of students’ data available), student SMS (69/136, 51% replied) and questionnaire (109/136, 80% completed) data showed good agreement between GP and SMS (kappa = 0.72), but poor agreement between GP and questionnaires (kappa = 0.06). Median knowledge scores were higher post-intervention, with greater improvement for non-biology students. Delivering and evaluating e-Bug PE is feasible with supportive school staff. Single tiered PE by university students may be easier to regulate and manage due to time constraints on school students. SMS collection of antibiotic data is easier and has similar accuracy to GP data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Point-of-Care C-Reactive Protein Testing to Reduce Antibiotic Prescribing for Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090610 - 16 Sep 2020
Abstract
C-reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasingly being promoted to reduce diagnostic uncertainty and enhance antibiotic stewardship. In primary care, respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most common reason for inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, which is a major driver for antibiotic resistance. We [...] Read more.
C-reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasingly being promoted to reduce diagnostic uncertainty and enhance antibiotic stewardship. In primary care, respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most common reason for inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, which is a major driver for antibiotic resistance. We systematically reviewed the available evidence on the impact of CRP-POCT on antibiotic prescribing for RTIs in primary care. Thirteen moderate to high-quality studies comprising 9844 participants met our inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses showed that CRP-POCT significantly reduced immediate antibiotic prescribing at the index consultation compared with usual care (RR 0.79, 95%CI 0.70 to 0.90, p = 0.0003, I2 = 76%) but not during 28-day (n = 7) follow-up. The immediate effect was sustained at 12 months (n = 1). In children, CRP-POCT reduced antibiotic prescribing when CRP (cut-off) guidance was provided (n = 2). Meta-analyses showed significantly higher rates of re-consultation within 30 days (n = 8, 1 significant). Clinical recovery, resolution of symptoms, and hospital admissions were not significantly different between CRP-POCT and usual care. CRP-POCT can reduce immediate antibiotic prescribing for RTIs in primary care (number needed to (NNT) for benefit = 8) at the expense of increased re-consultations (NNT for harm = 27). The increase in re-consultations and longer-term effects of CRP-POCT need further evaluation. Overall, the benefits of CRP-POCT outweigh the potential harms (NNTnet = 11). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessReview
Measuring Antibiotic Stewardship Programmes and Initiatives: An Umbrella Review in Primary Care Medicine and a Systematic Review of Dentistry
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090607 - 16 Sep 2020
Abstract
Antibiotic stewardship aims to tackle the global problem of drug-resistant infections by promoting the responsible use of antibiotics. Most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care and widespread overprescribing has been reported, including 80% in dentistry. This review aimed to identify outcomes measured in [...] Read more.
Antibiotic stewardship aims to tackle the global problem of drug-resistant infections by promoting the responsible use of antibiotics. Most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care and widespread overprescribing has been reported, including 80% in dentistry. This review aimed to identify outcomes measured in studies evaluating antibiotic stewardship across primary healthcare. An umbrella review was undertaken across medicine and a systematic review in dentistry. Systematic searches of Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase and Web of Science were undertaken. Two authors independently selected and quality assessed the included studies (using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme for the umbrella review and Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Designs for the systematic review). Metrics used to evaluate antibiotic stewardship programmes and interventions were extracted and categorized. Comparisons between medical and dental settings were made. Searches identified 2355 medical and 2704 dental studies. After screening and quality assessment, ten and five studies, respectively, were included. Three outcomes were identified across both medical and dental studies: All focused on antibiotic usage. Four more outcomes were found only in medical studies: these measured patient outcomes, such as adverse effects. To evaluate antibiotic stewardship programmes and interventions across primary healthcare settings, measures of antibiotic use and patient outcomes are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessReview
Antimicrobial Stewardship in General Practice: A Scoping Review of the Component Parts
Antibiotics 2020, 9(8), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9080498 - 09 Aug 2020
Abstract
There is no published health-system-wide framework to guide antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in general practice. The aim of this scoping review was to identify the component parts necessary to inform a framework to guide AMS in general practice. Six databases and nine websites were [...] Read more.
There is no published health-system-wide framework to guide antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in general practice. The aim of this scoping review was to identify the component parts necessary to inform a framework to guide AMS in general practice. Six databases and nine websites were searched. The sixteen papers included were those that reported on AMS in general practice in a country where antibiotics were available by prescription from a registered provider. Six multidimensional components were identified: 1. Governance, including a national action plan with accountability, prescriber accreditation, and practice level policies. 2. Education of general practitioners (GPs) and the public about AMS and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). 3. Consultation support, including decision support with patient information resources and prescribing guidelines. 4. Pharmacist and nurse involvement. 5. Monitoring of antibiotic prescribing and AMR with feedback to GPs. 6. Research into gaps in AMS and AMR evidence with translation into practice. This framework for AMS in general practice identifies health-system-wide components to support GPs to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing. It may assist in the development and evaluation of AMS interventions in general practice. It also provides a guide to components for inclusion in reports on AMS interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective
Point-of-Care Testing for Pharyngitis in the Pharmacy
Antibiotics 2020, 9(11), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9110743 - 28 Oct 2020
Abstract
Pharyngitis (also known as sore throat) is a common, predominately viral, self-limiting condition which can be symptomatically managed without antibiotic treatment. Inappropriate antibiotic use for pharyngitis contributes to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. However, a small proportion of sore throats caused [...] Read more.
Pharyngitis (also known as sore throat) is a common, predominately viral, self-limiting condition which can be symptomatically managed without antibiotic treatment. Inappropriate antibiotic use for pharyngitis contributes to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. However, a small proportion of sore throats caused by group A streptococcal (GAS) infection may benefit from the provision of antibiotics. Establishing the cause of infection is therefore an important step in effective antibiotic stewardship. Point-of-care (POC) tests, where results are available within minutes, can distinguish between viral and GAS pharyngitis and can therefore guide treatment in primary healthcare settings such as community pharmacies, which are often the first point of contact with the healthcare system. In this opinion article, the evidence for the use of POC testing in the community pharmacy has been discussed. Evidence suggests that pharmacy POC testing can promote appropriate antibiotic use and reduce the need for general practitioner consultations. Challenges to implementation include cost, training and ‘who prescribes’, with country and regional differences presenting a particular issue. Despite these challenges, POC testing for pharyngitis has become widely available in pharmacies in some countries and may represent a strategy to contain antibiotic resistance and contribute to antimicrobial stewardship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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Open AccessCommentary
The Primary Care Perspective on the Norwegian National Strategy against Antimicrobial Resistance
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090622 - 19 Sep 2020
Abstract
A national strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been subject to cyclic processes in Norway since 1998. In 2020, a renewed process cycle was launched. Here, we describe the process and the approach of the process. In addition, we describe two concepts [...] Read more.
A national strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been subject to cyclic processes in Norway since 1998. In 2020, a renewed process cycle was launched. Here, we describe the process and the approach of the process. In addition, we describe two concepts from philosophy of science that may help to frame the process: AMR is an example of a super wicked problem, and post-normal science provides tools to analyze the problem from a new angle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
Open AccessBrief Report
Conceptualising the Integration of Strategies by Clinical Commissioning Groups in England towards the Antibiotic Prescribing Targets for the Quality Premium Financial Incentive Scheme: A Short Report
Antibiotics 2020, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9020044 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: In order to tackle the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance, improvement in antibiotic prescribing in primary care was included as one of the priorities of the Quality Premium (QP) financial incentive scheme for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England. This paper [...] Read more.
Background: In order to tackle the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance, improvement in antibiotic prescribing in primary care was included as one of the priorities of the Quality Premium (QP) financial incentive scheme for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England. This paper briefly reports the outcome of a workshop exploring the experiences of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) leads within CCGs in selecting and adopting strategies to help achieve the QP antibiotic targets. Methods: We conducted a thematic analysis of the notes on discussions and observations from the workshop to identify key themes. Results: Practice visits, needs assessment, peer feedback and audits were identified as strategies integrated in increasing engagement with practices towards the QP antibiotic targets. The conceptual model developed by AMS leads demonstrated possible pathways for the impact of the QP on antibiotic prescribing. Participants raised a concern that the constant targeting of high prescribing practices for AMS interventions might lead to disengagement by these practices. Most of the participants suggested that the effect of the QP might be less about the financial incentive and more about having national targets and guidelines that promote antibiotic prudency. Conclusions: Our results suggest that national targets, rather than financial incentives are key for engaging stakeholders in quality improvement in antibiotic prescribing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Stewardship in Primary Care)
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