The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine, 2020
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Abstract Background Antibacterial agents are often prescribed for patients with suspected respiratory tract infections even though these are most often caused by viruses. In this study, we sought to evaluate the effect of Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP) PCR result availability and antimicrobial stewardship education on antibiotic prescription rates in the adult emergency department (ED). Methods We compared rates of antibacterial and oseltamivir prescriptions between 2 nonconsecutive influenza seasons among ED visits, wherein the latter season followed the implementation of a comprehensive educational stewardship campaign. In addition, we sought to elucidate the effect of RPP-PCR on antibiotic prescriptions, with focus on result availability prior to the conclusion of emergency department encounters. Results Antibiotic prescription rates globally decreased by 17.9% in the FS-17/18 cohort compared to FS-14/15 (P < 0.001), while oseltamivir prescription rates stayed the same overall (P = 0.42). Multivariate regression across both cohorts revealed that patients were less likely to receive antibiotics if RPP-PCR results were available before the end of the ED visit or if the RPP-PCR result was positive for influenza. Patients in the educational intervention cohort were also less likely to receive an antibiotic prescription. Conclusion This study provides evidence that RPP-PCR results are most helpful if available prior to the end of the provider-patient interaction. Further, these data suggest that detection of influenza remains an influential result in the context of antimicrobial treatment decision making. In addition, these data contribute to the body of literature which supports comprehensive ASP interventions including leadership and patient engagement.