All Clinicians Should...
Dose, Duration Indication
Too often antibiotics in hospitals are continued unnecessarily simply because clinicians caring for the patient do not have information indicating why the antibiotics were started initially or for how long they were to be continued. This challenge is compounded in today’s healthcare system where primary responsibility for patient care is frequently transitioned from one clinician to another. Ensuring that all antibiotic orders are always accompanied by a dose, duration and indication will help clinicians change or stop therapy when appropriate.
Antibiotic therapy can be best optimized when it can be tailored to specific culture results. Knowing the susceptibility of the infecting organism can lead to narrowing of broad spectrum therapy, changing therapy to better treat resistant pathogens and to stopping antibiotics when cultures suggest an infection is unlikely.
- Clinician Guide
Ed Septimus, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA
HCA, Nashville, TN
Take an “Antibiotic Timeout”
When culture results come back in 24-48 hours, it’s time to take an antibiotic time-out. Stop and reassess therapy. Antibiotics are generally started before a patient's full clinical picture is known. Now that additional information is available, including microbiology, radiographic and clinical information, clinicians should ask themselves if the antibiotic is still warranted or, more importantly, is this antibiotic still effective against this organism? It is the time to reevaluate why the therapy was started in the first place and to gather all of the evidence on whether there should be changes in the course of therapy or the antibiotics should be stopped altogether if an infection no longer appears likely.