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Antibiotic stewardship implementation and patient-level antibiotic use at hospitals with and without on-site Infectious Disease specialists.


Many US hospitals lack Infectious Disease (ID) specialists, which may hinder antibiotic stewardship efforts. We sought to compare patient-level antibiotic exposure at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals with and without an on-site ID specialist, defined as an ID physician and/or ID pharmacist. This retrospective VHA cohort included all acute-care patient-admissions during 2016. A mandatory survey was used to identify hospitals' antibiotic stewardship processes and their access to an on-site ID specialist. Antibiotic use was quantified as days of therapy (DOT) per days-present and categorized based on National Healthcare Safety Network definitions. A negative binomial regression model with risk adjustment was used to determine the association between presence of an on-site ID specialist and antibiotic use at the level of patient-admissions. Eighteen of 122 (14.8%) hospitals lacked an on-site ID specialist; there were 525,451 (95.8%) admissions at ID hospitals and 23,007 (4.2%) at non-ID sites. In the adjusted analysis, presence of an ID specialist was associated with lower total inpatient antibacterial use [OR 0.92, (95% CI, 0.85-0.99)]. Presence of an ID specialist was also associated with lower use of broad-spectrum antibacterials [OR 0.61 (95% CI, 0.54-0.70)] and higher narrow-spectrum beta-lactam use [OR 1.43 (95% CI, 1.22-1.67)]. Total antibacterial exposure (inpatient plus post-discharge) was lower among patients at ID versus non-ID sites [OR 0.92 (95% CI, 0.86-0.99)]. Patients at hospitals with an ID specialist received antibiotics in a way more consistent with stewardship principles. The presence of an ID specialist may be important to effective antibiotic stewardship.

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