Evaluation of early implementations of antibiotic stewardship program initiatives in nine Dutch hospitals

A.H.M. van Limburg, Bhanu Sinha, Jerome R. Lo-Ten-Foe, Julia E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen

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Background Antibiotic resistance is a global threat to patient safety and care. In response, hospitals start antibiotic stewardship programs to optimise antibiotic use. Expert-based guidelines recommend strategies to implement such programs, but local implementations may differ per hospital. Earlier published assessments determine maturity of antibiotic stewardship programs based on expert-based structure indicators, but they disregard that there may be valid deviations from these expert-based programs. Aim To analyse the progress and barriers of local implementations of antibiotic stewardship programs with stakeholders in nine Dutch hospitals and to develop a toolkit that guides implementing local antibiotic stewardship programs. Methods An online questionnaire based on published guidelines and recommendations, conducted with seven clinical microbiologists, seven infectious disease physicians and five clinical pharmacists at nine Dutch hospitals. Results Results show local differences in antibiotic stewardship programs and the uptake of interventions in hospitals. Antibiotic guidelines and antibiotic teams are the most extensively implemented interventions. Education, decision support and audit-feedback are deemed important interventions and they are either piloted in implementations at academic hospitals or in preparation for application in non-academic hospitals. Other interventions that are recommended in guidelines - benchmarking, restriction and antibiotic formulary - appear to have a lower priority. Automatic stop-order, pre-authorization, automatic substitution, antibiotic cycling are not deemed to be worthwhile according to respondents. Conclusion There are extensive local differences in the implementation of antibiotic stewardship interventions. These differences suggest a need to further explore the rationale behind the choice of interventions in antibiotic stewardship programs. Rather than reporting this rationale, this study reports where rationale can play a key role in the implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs. A one-size-fits-all solution is unfeasible as there may be barriers or valid reasons for local experts to deviate from expert-based guidelines. Local experts can be supported with a toolkit containing advice based on possible barriers and considerations. These parameters can be used to customise an implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs to local needs (while retaining its expert-based foundation).
Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Pages (from-to)-
JournalAntimicrobial resistance and infection control
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-307921
  • IR-93583


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