Introduction: Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common reason for an emergency department (ED) visit. The majority of these patients are discharged directly home without a hospital admission. After discharge, emergency physicians have traditionally managed the care of the patient if a change is warranted (as a result of urine culture results). However, in recent years clinical pharmacists in the ED have largely incorporated this task into their standard practice. In our study, we aimed to 1) describe our unique process in having a pharmacist-led, urinary culture follow-up, and 2) compare it to our previous, more traditional process.
Methods: In our retrospective study, we evaluated the impact of a pharmacist-led, urinary culture follow-up program after discharge from the ED. We included patients prior to and after the implementation of our new protocol to compare the differences. The primary outcome was time to intervention after urine culture result was released. Secondary outcomes included rate of documentation of intervention, appropriate interventions made, and repeat ED visits within 30 days.
Results: We included a total of 265 unique urine cultures from 264 patients in the study: 129 cultures were from the period prior to implementation of the protocol, and 136 were from the post-implementation period. There were no significant differences between pre- and post-implementation groups for the primary outcome. Appropriate therapeutic intervention based on positive urine culture results was 16.3% in the pre-implementation group vs 14.7% in the post-implementation group (P=0.72). Secondary outcomes of time to intervention, documentation rates, and readmissions were similar between both groups.
Conclusion: Implementation of a pharmacist-led, urinary culture follow-up program after discharge from the ED led to similar outcomes as a physician-run program. An ED pharmacist can successfully run a urinary culture follow-up program in an ED without physician involvement.