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Ann Pharmacother. 2000 Feb;34(2):154-60.

Economic impact of standardized orders for antimicrobial prophylaxis program.

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CUS Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vancouver General Hosptial, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada.



To assess the effect and economic impact of an intervention aimed at standardizing the timing of preoperative antimicrobial prophylaxis from the perspective of a major teaching hospital.


A pre/post study design in which a random sample of 60 procedures from a 12-month period in the preintervention phase were reviewed. A comparative sample of 60 procedures during a seven-month postintervention phase was selected. For each prophylactic course, preoperative dose administration details were classified as early (>2 h prior to incision), on time (0-2 h prior), delayed (0-3 h after), or late (>3 after). To determine the economic impact of this intervention, we used a predictive decision analytic model using institutional costs and the published probabilities of inpatient surgical wound infections (SWIs) following administration of antimicrobials timed according to the above criteria. Two conditions were analyzed: (1) an interdisciplinary two-stage therapeutic interchange program involving staff education and modification of preoperative antimicrobial orders to ensure timely administration and (2) no intervention.


An 1100-bed tertiary care, university-affiliated institution.


120 randomly selected procedures involving inpatients who received a preoperative antibiotic.


Differences in preoperative antimicrobial timing and cost avoidance associated with the intervention.


In the preintervention phase, 68% of prophylactic courses were on time, 22% were early, and the balance were delayed or late. The incidence of on-time prophylaxis increased to 97% during the postintervention phase (p = 0.001). Operating room staff involvement in antimicrobial administration increased from 57% to 92% (p = 0.001). Based on a setup and annual intervention cost of $9100 CAN ($1 CAN = $0.68 US), an annual inpatient SWI avoidance of 51 cases, an average infection-associated extended hospital stay of four days, and an average treatment cost of $1957 CAN per inpatient SWI, we estimated that 153 hospital days were avoided and there was an annual cost avoidance of $90 707 CAN ($1779 CAN saved per inpatient infection avoided) due to this intervention. Using sensitivity analyses, no plausible changes in the base case estimates altered the results of the economic model.


An interdisciplinary approach to optimizing the timing of preoperative antimicrobial doses can impact positively on practice patterns and result in substantial cost avoidance. Costs incurred to implement such an intervention are small when compared with the annual cost avoidance to the institution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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