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Rationalising antibiotic use after low-risk vaginal deliveries in a hospital setting in India

  • Sharma, Shakti1
  • Kumari, Nikita1
  • Sengupta, Rinku1
  • Malhotra, Yashika1
  • Bhartia, Saru1
  • 1 Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, Delhi, India , New Delhi (India)
Published Article
BMJ Open Quality
BMJ Publishing Group
Publication Date
Aug 03, 2021
Suppl 1
DOI: 10.1136/bmjoq-2021-001413
PMID: 34344734
PMCID: PMC8336128
PubMed Central
  • 1506


Background In 2017, a postoperative multidrug resistant case of urinary tract infection made obstetricians at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research introspect the antibiotic usage in labouring mothers. Random case file reviews indicated overuse and variability of practice among care providers. This prompted us to explore ways to rationalise antibiotic use. Methods A multidisciplinary team of obstetricians, paediatricians and quality officers was formed to run this improvement initiative at a private hospital facility in India. Review of literature advocated formulating a departmental antibiotic policy. Creating this policy and implementing it using improvement methodology helped us rationalise antibiotic usage. Interventions We aimed to reduce the use of antibiotics from 42% to less than 10% in uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. We tested a series of sequential interventions using the improvement methodology of Plan–Do–Study–Act (PDSA) cycles, an approach recommended by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Learning from the PDSA cycle of the previous intervention helped decide the subsequent change ideas. The interventions included creation of a departmental antibiotic policy, staff engagement, and modification in documentation, concept of dual responsibility and team huddles as feedback opportunities. Information was analysed to understand the progress and improvement with change ideas. Results Background analysis revealed that antibiotic usage ranged from 24% to 69% and average rate of antibiotic prophylaxis was high (42.28%) in low-risk uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. The sequential changes resulted in reduction in antibiotic usage to 10% in the target population by 4 months. Sustained improvement was noted in the following months. Conclusion We succeeded in implementing a departmental antibiotic policy aligning it with existing international guidelines and our local challenges. Antibiotic stewardship was one of the first major steps in our journey to avoid multidrug-resistant infections. Sustaining outcomes will involve continuous feedback to ensure engagement of all stakeholders in a hospital setting.

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