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Open Access Open Badges Research article

An outpatient antibacterial stewardship intervention during the journey to JCI accreditation

Ping Song1, Wei Li2 and Quan Zhou1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacy, the Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Jiefang Road No. 88, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310009, China

2 Division of Medical Affairs, the Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310009, Province, China

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BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology 2014, 15:8  doi:10.1186/2050-6511-15-8

Published: 26 February 2014



Antibacterial overuse, misuse and resistance have become a major global threat. The Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation standards include quality improvement and patient safety, which is exemplified by antimicrobial stewardship. There are currently few reports on interventions to improve the quality of outpatient antibacterial prescribing.


A before-after intervention study, aiming at antibacterial use in outpatients, was performed in a university-affiliated hospital with 2.8 million outpatient visits annually during the journey to JCI accreditation (March of 2012 - March of 2013). Comprehensive intervention measures included formulary adjustment, classification management, motivational, information technological, educational and organizational measures. A defined daily dose (DDD) methodology was applied. Pharmacoeconomic data and drug-related problems (DRPs) were statistically compared between the two phases.


The variety of antibacterials available in outpatient pharmacy decreased from 38 to 16. The proportion of antibacterial prescriptions significantly decreased (12.7% versus 9.9%, P < 0.01). The proportion of prescriptions containing the restricted antibacterials was 30.4% in the second phase, significantly lower than the value of 44.7% in the first phase (P < 0.01). The overall proportion of oral versus all antibacterial prescriptions increased (94.0% to 100%, P < 0.01) when measured as defined daily doses. Statistically significant increases in relative percentage of DDDs of oral antibacterials (i.e., DDDs of individual oral antibacterial divided by the sum of DDDs of all antibacterials) were observed with moxifloxacin, levofloxacin, cefuroxime axetil, ornidazole, clindamycin palmitate, cefaclor, amoxicillin and clarithromycin. Occurrence rate of DRPs decreased from 13.6% to 4.0% (P < 0.01), with a larger decrease seen in surgical clinics (surgical: 19.5% versus 5.6%; internal medicine: 8.4% versus 2.8%, P < 0.01). The total expenditure on antibacterials for outpatients decreased by 34.7% and the intervention program saved about 6 million Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY) annually.


The one-year intervention program on outpatient antibacterial use during the journey to JCI accreditation reduced the expenditure on antibacterials, improved the appropriateness of antibacterial prescriptions. Quality improvements need integrated multifaceted intervention measures and long-term adherence to the antibiotic stewardship. Approach of i.v. to oral antibacterial switch, classification management, and motivational measures may play the most efficient role in changing antibacterial prescription practices.

Antibacterials; Continuous quality improvement; Drug utilization; Inappropriate prescribing; Outpatient health services; Pharmacoeconomics; Prescription auditing; Stewardship; Intervention