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1.  Development of quality indicators for antimicrobial treatment in adults with sepsis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:345.
Background
Outcomes in patients with sepsis are better if initial empirical antimicrobial use is appropriate. Several studies have shown that adherence to guidelines dictating appropriate antimicrobial use positively influences clinical outcome, shortens length of hospital stay and contributes to the containment of antibiotic resistance.
Quality indicators (QIs) can be systematically developed from these guidelines to define and measure appropriate antimicrobial use. We describe the development of a concise set of QIs to assess the appropriateness of antimicrobial use in adult patients with sepsis on a general medical ward or Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Methods
A RAND-modified, five step Delphi procedure was used. A multidisciplinary panel of 14 experts appraised and prioritized 40 key recommendations from within the Dutch national guideline on antimicrobial use for adult hospitalized patients with sepsis (http://www.swab.nl/guidelines). A procedure to select QIs relevant to clinical outcome, antimicrobial resistance and costs was performed using two rounds of questionnaires with a face-to-face consensus meeting between the rounds over a period of three months.
Results
The procedure resulted in the selection of a final set of five QIs, namely: obtain cultures; prescribe empirical antimicrobial therapy according to the national guideline; start intravenous drug therapy; start antimicrobial treatment within one hour; and streamline antimicrobial therapy.
Conclusion
This systematic, stepwise method, which combined evidence and expert opinion, led to a concise and therefore feasible set of QIs for optimal antimicrobial use in hospitalized adult patients with sepsis. The next step will entail subjecting these quality indicators to an applicability test for their clinimetric properties and ultimately, using these QIs in quality-improvement projects. This information is crucial for antimicrobial stewardship teams to help set priorities and to focus improvement.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-345
PMCID: PMC4078010  PMID: 24950718
Sepsis; Antimicrobial treatment; Quality indicator; Quality improvement; Appropriate antimicrobial use; Appropriate antibiotic use
2.  Medication reconciliation at hospital admission and discharge: insufficient knowledge, unclear task reallocation and lack of collaboration as major barriers to medication safety 
Background
Medication errors are a leading cause of patient harm. Many of these errors result from an incomplete overview of medication either at a patient’s referral to or at discharge from the hospital. One solution is medication reconciliation, a formal process in which health care professionals partner with patients to ensure an accurate and complete transfer of medication information at interfaces of care. In 2007, the Dutch government compelled hospitals to implement a bundle concerning medication reconciliation at hospital admission and discharge. But to date many hospitals have failed to implement this bundle fully. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the barriers and drivers of the implementation process.
Methods
We performed face to face, semi-structured interviews with twenty health care professionals and managers from several departments at a 953 bed university hospital in the Netherlands and also from the surrounding community health services. The interviews were analysed using a combined theoretical framework of Grol and Cabana to classify the drivers and barriers identified.
Results
There is lack of awareness and insufficient knowledge of health care professionals about the health care problem and the bundle medication reconciliation. These result in a lack of support for implementing the bundle. In addition clinicians are reluctant to reallocate tasks to nurses or pharmacy technicians. Another major barrier is a lack of communication, understanding and collaboration between hospital and community caregivers. The introduction of more competitive market forces has made matters worse. Major drivers are a good implementation plan, patient awareness, and obligation by the government.
Conclusions
We identified a wide range of barriers and drivers which health care professionals believe influence the implementation of medication reconciliation. This reflects the complexity of implementation. Implementation can be improved if these factors are adequately addressed. The feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies should be tested in controlled trails.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-170
PMCID: PMC3416693  PMID: 22721361
Adverse events; Safety; Quality; Medication reconciliation; Medication error; Implementation; Implementation barriers
3.  Barriers to optimal antibiotic use for community‐acquired pneumonia at hospitals: a qualitative study 
Quality & Safety in Health Care  2007;16(2):143-149.
Background
Physician adherence to key recommendations of guidelines for community‐acquired pneumonia (CAP) is often not optimal. A better understanding of factors influencing optimal performance is needed to plan effective change.
Methods
The authors used semistructured interviews with care providers in three Dutch medium‐sized hospitals to qualitatively study and understand barriers to appropriate antibiotic use in patients with CAP. They discussed recommendations about the prescription of empirical antibiotic therapy that adheres to the guidelines, timely administration of antibiotics, adjusting antibiotic dosage to accommodate decreased renal function, switching and streamlining therapy, and blood and sputum culturing. The authors then classified the barriers each recommendation faced into categories using a conceptual framework (Cabana).
Results
Eighteen interviews were performed with residents and specialists in pulmonology and internal medicine, with medical microbiologists and a clinical pharmacist. Two additional multidisciplinary small group interviews which included nurses were performed. Each guideline recommendation elicited a different type of barrier. Regarding the choice of guideline‐adherent empirical therapy, treating physicians said that they worried about patient outcome when prescribing narrow‐spectrum antibiotic therapy. Regarding the timeliness of antibiotic administration, barriers such as conflicting guidelines and organisational factors (for example, delayed laboratory results, antibiotics not directly available, lack of time) were reported. Not streamlining therapy after culture results became available was thought to be due to the physicians' attitude of “never change a winning team”.
Conclusions
Efforts to improve the use of antibiotics for patients with CAP should consider the range of barriers that care providers face. Each recommendation meets its own barriers. Interventions to improve adherence should be tailored to these factors.
doi:10.1136/qshc.2005.017327
PMCID: PMC2653154  PMID: 17403764

Results 1-3 (3)