Skip to main content
Impact of a systematic pharmacist-initiated antibiotic time-out intervention for hospitalized adults
Journal of Pharmacy Practice
  • Calley M Paulson, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Jillian F Handley, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Thomas J Dilworth, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Dan Persells, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Rachael Y Prusi
  • Charles Brummitt, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Katherine M Torres, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Lee P Skrupky

Department of Pharmacy Services, Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Infectious Diseases Section, Advocate Aurora Health, Department of Infectious Disease, Aurora Medical Group

Publication Date

INTRODUCTION: Antibiotic time-outs (ATO) are a recommended antimicrobial stewardship action, but data assessing their impact are lacking. This study investigated the impact of a systematic, pharmacist initiated ATO intervention.

METHODS: This pre-post study included inpatients on hospitalist and intensivist services receiving empiric antibiotics for ≥48 hours. The ATO was initiated by pharmacists after 48 hours of empiric therapy and the outcome was documented including antibiotic indication, plan, and duration. An electronic medical record (EMR) alert facilitated ATO completion and pharmacists and prescribers received education prior to implementation. The primary outcome was EMR documentation of an antibiotic plan by 72 hours. Secondary outcomes included antibiotic utilization and antibiotic therapy modifications by 2 hours.

RESULTS: 399 patients were included, 199 pre- and 200 post-intervention. The most common indications were pneumonia (32%), intra-abdominal infection (20%) and urinary tract infection (19%), with no between-group differences. EMR documentation of an antibiotic plan significantly improved in the post-intervention group (19% vs. 79%, pp = 0.2499). Approximately 45% of patients in each group received discharge antibiotics and median duration of discharge antibiotic therapy prescribed was reduced (7 vs. 5 days in the pre- and post-intervention groups, respectively; p = 0.0140).

DISCUSSION: Implementation of pharmacist initiated ATO was associated with improvements in supporting EMR documentation and antibiotic therapy modifications. These findings highlight an important role in which pharmacists can serve as part of a collaborative antibiotic stewardship team.

Document Type
PubMed ID
Citation Information

Paulson CM, Handley JF, Dilworth TJ, et al. Impact of a Systematic Pharmacist-Initiated Antibiotic Time-Out Intervention for Hospitalized Adults. J Pharm Pract. 2022;35(3):388-395. doi:10.1177/0897190020980616