BACKGROUND: Inappropriate antimicrobial use has been shown to be an important determinant of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Health information technology (HIT) in the form of Computerised Decision Support (CDS) represents an option for improving antimicrobial prescribing and containing AMR.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the evidence for CDS in improving quantitative and qualitative measures of antibiotic prescribing in inpatient hospital settings.
METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted of articles published from inception to 20th December 2014 using eight electronic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PUBMED, Web of Science, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, HMIC and PsychINFo. An updated systematic literature search was conducted from January 1st 2015 to October 1st 2016 using PUBMED. The search strategy used combinations of the following terms: (electronic prescribing) OR (clinical decision support) AND (antibiotic or antibacterial or antimicrobial) AND (hospital or secondary care or inpatient). Studies were evaluated for quality using a 10-point rating scale.
RESULTS: Eighty-one studies were identified matching the inclusion criteria. Seven outcome measures were evaluated: adequacy of antibiotic coverage, mortality, volume of antibiotic usage, length of stay, antibiotic cost, compliance with guidelines, antimicrobial resistance, and CDS implementation and uptake. Meta-analysis of pooled outcomes showed CDS significantly improved the adequacy of antibiotic coverage (n = 13; odds ratio [OR], 2.11 [95% CI, 1.67 to 2.66, p ≤ 0.00001]). Also, CDS was associated with marginally lowered mortality (n = 20; OR, 0.85 [CI, 0.75 to 0.96, p = 0.01]). CDS was associated with lower antibiotic utilisation, increased compliance with antibiotic guidelines and reductions in antimicrobial resistance. Conflicting effects of CDS on length of stay, antibiotic costs and system uptake were also noted.
CONCLUSIONS: CDS has the potential to improve the adequacy of antibiotic coverage and marginally decrease mortality in hospital-related settings.