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Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2013 Sep;31 Suppl 4:25-30. doi: 10.1016/S0213-005X(13)70129-0.

Evaluating the quality of antimicrobial prescribing: is standardisation possible?

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Unidad de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica, Hospital Virgen Macarena, Sevilla, Spain. Electronic address:


The quality of antimicrobial prescribing refers to the optimal way to use antibiotics in regard to their benefits, safety (e.g., resistance generation and toxicity) and cost. Evaluating the quality of antimicrobial prescribing in a way that focuses not only on reducing antimicrobial consumption but also on using them in a more optimal way allows us to understand patterns of use and to identify targets for intervention. The lack of standardisation is the primary problem to be addressed when planning an evaluation of antimicrobial prescribing. There is little information specifically describing an evaluation methodology. Information related to prescription evaluation can be obtained from the guidelines of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs (ASPs) and from local and international experience. The criteria used to evaluate the quality of prescription should include the indication for antimicrobial therapy, the timeliness of initiation, the correct antibiotic choice (according to local guidelines), the dosing, the duration, the route of administration and the time at which to switch to oral administration. A locally developed guideline on antimicrobial therapy should preferably be the gold standard by which to evaluate the appropriatenes of prescriptions. Various approaches used to carry out the evaluations have been described in the literature. Repeated point-prevalence surveys (PPS) have been proven to be effective in identifying targets for quality improvement. Continuous prospective monitoring allows the identification of more precise intervention points at different times during prescription. The design of the study chosen to perform the evaluation should be adapted according to the resources available in each centre. Evaluating the quality of antimicrobial prescribing should be the first step to designing ASPs, as well as to evaluating their impact and the changes in prescribing trends over time.


Antibiótico; Antimicrobial; Encuestas de prevalencia; Evaluación; Evaluation; Guideline; Guía; Optimización; Prescribing; Prescripción; Prevalence surveys; Stewardship

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