New metric aims to capture antibiotic prescribing among pediatricians
A team of pediatricians in Massachusetts has developed a new metric for capturing the range of antibiotic prescribing among pediatricians for common clinical scenarios.
The Antibiotics Likelihood Index (ALI), described in a paper last week in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, was developed using data from 2018 and 2019 for children ages 3 months to 17 years from 53 practices in a large pediatric network in Massachusetts. Based on those data, the clinicians grouped encounters into Reason for Visit categories and then analyzed the proportion of encounters with an antibiotic prescription within each category.
The ALI was defined as the proportion of encounters with an antibiotic prescribed among categories that accounted for more than 80% of encounters with an antibiotic prescribed.
Analysis of the 2018 data showed that six Reason for Visit categories—cough, ear complaints, fever, sore throat, rash, and congestion/upper respiratory infection—accounted for 82.4% of all antibiotics prescribed. Among the 222,682 encounters for the top 6 categories combined, 30.3% had an antibiotic prescribed, defined as the ALI for the entire sample. The authors repeated the analysis for the 2019 data and found similar results, with an overall ALI of 30.8%. The index among individual prescribers for 2018 ranged from 7.5% to 57.2%, and for 2019 it ranged from 9.9% to 60.2%.
The authors say the strengths of the ALI compared to other proposed metrics of antibiotic prescribing are that it varies very little according to patient demographic factors such as age, sex, and insurance type, and it allows for a fair comparison of one pediatrician's overall antibiotic prescribing to another.
"Further research to validate the ALI construct within other pediatric primary care networks would be helpful to establish the generalizability of this approach," they wrote.
Dec 18 J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc abstract
Sepsis management bundle not tied to more antibiotics or fewer deaths
An analysis of data on sepsis patients found that adherence to a federally mandated sepsis management bundle in US hospitals was not associated with a change in already increasing rates of broad-spectrum antibiotic use or with improved mortality rates, researchers reported this week in JAMA Network Open.
The retrospective study, conducted among 117,510 adults admitted to 114 hospitals with suspected sepsis from October 2013 to December 2017, aimed to analyze the impact of implementing the 2015 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Early Management Bundle (SEP-1).
While SEP-1 has catalyzed widespread sepsis quality improvement efforts, the study authors note, concerns have been raised that the bundle, which requires clinicians to administer broad-spectrum antibiotics to suspected sepsis patients within 3 hours, would lead to inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. There have also been concerns that the bundle has increased detection of milder sepsis cases, which may affect mortality rates.
The primary outcome of the interrupted time series and logistic regression analysis was quarterly rates of risk-adjusted short-term mortality. Secondary outcomes included administration of anti–methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or antipseudomonal beta-lactam antibiotics within 24 hours of hospital arrival.
While there were increases in the use of anti-MRSA antibiotics (19.8% in Quarter 4 of 2013 to 26.3% in Q4 of 2017) and antipseudomonal antibiotics (27.7% in Q4 of 2013 to 40.5% in Q4 of 2017), these trends preceded SEP-1 and did not change with SEP-1 implementation. Unadjusted short-term mortality rates were similar in the pre–SEP-1 period (Q4 of 2013 through Q3 of 2015) versus the post–SEP-1 period (Q1 of 2016 through Q4 of 2017) (20.3% vs 20.4%), and SEP-1 implementation was not associated with changes in level (OR, 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68 to 1.29) or trend (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.04) for risk-adjusted short-term mortality rates.
"These findings suggest that alternate approaches to improving mortality for patients with sepsis are warranted," the authors wrote.
Dec 20 JAMA Netw Open study
WHO: Global flu continues slow rise
Overall flu activity remains low but continues to pick up, especially in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest global flu update. It urged countries to enhance surveillance for flu alongside COVID-19 monitoring, and it recommended that countries step up their flu vaccination activities.
Both influenza A and B are circulating, with the H3N2 strain predominant in North America and Europe. East Asia's flu activity shows a rise, led mostly by influenza B. In South America, Brazil reported H3N2 activity, and it—along with several other countries—still report respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity.
Globally, over the 2 weeks spanning late November into early December, 58.1% of respiratory samples that tested positive for flu were influenza A, and 41.9% were influenza B. Of the subtyped influenza A samples, 90.1% were H3N2. And all characterized influenza B samples belonged to the Victoria lineage.
Dec 20 WHO global flu update