Pharmacist-led implementation of a vancomycin guideline across medical and surgical units: impact on clinical behavior and therapeutic drug monitoring outcomes
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Background: Vancomycin is the antibiotic of choice for the treatment of serious infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Inappropriate prescribing of vancomycin can lead to therapeutic failure, antibiotic resistance, and drug toxicity. Objective: To examine the effectiveness of pharmacist-led implementation of a clinical practice guideline for vancomycin dosing and monitoring in a teaching hospital. Methods: An observational pre–post study design was undertaken to evaluate the implementation of the vancomycin guideline. The implementation strategy principally involved education, clinical vignettes, and provision of pocket guidelines to accompany release of the guideline to the hospital Intranet. The target cohort for clinical behavioral change was junior medical officers, as they perform the majority of prescribing and monitoring of vancomycin in hospitals. Assessment measures were recorded for vancomycin prescribing, therapeutic drug monitoring, and patient outcomes. Results: Ninety-nine patients, 53 pre- and 46 post-implementation, were included in the study. Prescribing of a loading dose increased from 9% to 28% (P=0.02), and guideline adherence to starting maintenance dosing increased from 53% to 63% (P=0.32). Dose adjustment by doctors when blood concentrations were outside target increased from 53% to 71% (P=0.12), and correct timing of initial concentration measurement increased from 43% to 57% (P=0.23). Appropriately timed trough concentrations improved from 73% to 81% (P=0.08). Pre-dose (trough) concentrations in target range rose from 33% to 44% (P=0.10), while potentially toxic concentrations decreased from 32% to 21% (P=0.05) post-implementation. Infection cure rates for patients increased from 85% to 96% (P=0.11) after the guideline was implemented. Conclusion: The implementation strategy employed in this study demonstrated potential effectiveness, and should prompt additional larger studies to optimize strategies that will translate into improved clinical practice using vancomycin.
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