July 23, 2024

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Algorithm-based Consultation Reduces Pediatric Antibiotic Prescription Rates

Algorithm-based Consultation Reduces Pediatric Antibiotic Prescription Rates



Algorithm-based Consultation Reduces Pediatric Antibiotic Prescription Rates

Bacterial resistance caused approximately 1.27 million deaths in 2019, with Sub-Saharan Africa bearing the heaviest medical burden. The overuse of antibiotics has been a major contributor to the increase in pathogen resistance, a trend that has persisted over the past few decades. Previous studies have identified instances where antibiotics were prescribed unnecessarily during consultations.

On December 18, 2023, researchers from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland published a study titled “A digital health algorithm to guide antibiotic prescription in pediatric outpatient care: a cluster randomized controlled trial” in the Nature Medicine sub-journal of Nature.

The large-scale randomized clinical trial revealed that a digital decision support tool could significantly reduce antibiotic prescription rates in pediatric cases without impacting clinical outcomes.

Algorithm-based Consultation Reduces Pediatric Antibiotic Prescription Rates

The study developed a clinical decision support algorithm for pediatric consultations, utilizing real-time tests to provide diagnostic recommendations in line with WHO guidelines for relevant therapies. The tool’s effectiveness in reducing antibiotic prescription rates was tested in 20 healthcare institutions in Tanzania, covering over 20,000 consultations in an 11-month period. With the use of the tool, 23.2% of consultations resulted in antibiotic prescriptions, compared to 70.1% in institutions without the tool. The reduction in antibiotic prescription rates did not adversely affect patients, as there were no observed differences in treatment failure rates during the study.

The research team noted that 25% of individuals in the intervention group did not follow the algorithm, emphasizing the importance of consistent tool utilization. However, they also highlighted that the study presented a potentially scalable and cost-effective solution to safely reduce antibiotic prescription rates.

Link to the paper

Algorithm-based Consultation Reduces Pediatric Antibiotic Prescription Rates

(source:internet, reference only)


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