Urgent care (UC; a convenient site to receive care for ambulatory-sensitive) centers conditions; however, UC clinicians showed the highest rate of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions among outpatient settings according to national billing data. Antibiotic prescribing practices in pediatric-specific UC centers were not known but assumed to require improvement. The aim of this multisite quality improvement project was to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing practices for 3 target diagnoses in pediatric UC centers by a relative 20% by December 1, 2019.
The Society of Pediatric Urgent Care invited pediatric UC clinicians to participate in a multisite quality improvement study from June 2019 to December 2019. The diagnoses included acute otitis media (AOM), otitis media with effusion, and pharyngitis. Algorithms based on published guidelines were used to identify inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions according to indication, agent, and duration. Sites completed multiple intervention cycles from a menu of publicly available antibiotic stewardship materials. Participants submitted data electronically. The outcome measure was the percentage of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for the target diagnoses. Process measures were use of delayed antibiotics for AOM and inappropriate testing in pharyngitis.
From 20 UC centers, 157 providers submitted data from 3833 encounters during the intervention cycles. Overall inappropriate antibiotic prescription rates decreased by a relative 53.9%. Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing decreased from 57.0% to 36.6% for AOM, 54.6% to 48.4% for otitis media with effusion, and 66.9% to 11.7% for pharyngitis.
Participating pediatric UC providers decreased inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions from 60.3% to 27.8% using publicly available interventions.