Effect of BPA on Anchor Antibiotic Continuity in the ED: Randomized Controlled Trial

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    Massachusetts General Hospital
Updated on 27 January 2021


The objective is to compare the timeliness of anchor antibiotic administration in the emergency department (ED) after initial dosing with and without a Best Practice Alert in Epic (BPA) implemented to remind physicians to re-order the antibiotic.

We hypothesize that post-BPA implementation, physicians will have a higher rate of ordering subsequent doses of antibiotics on-time and with the correct dosages compared to pre-BPA implementation.


Antibiotics administration can sometimes be delayed in the emergency department (ED) environment, where antibiotics are frequently ordered in electronic medical record systems as a one-time dose and the second dose is delayed or missed. This has been described in the literature, a 2017 article in Critical Care Medicine noted in a single academic center that 33% of sepsis cases had 2nd-dose-antibiotic delays greater than 25% of the recommend interval and this was associated with significantly increased hospital mortality (OR 1.61) and mechanical ventilation (OR 2.44).

An Epic Best Practice Advisory (BPA) was created by the Mass General Brigham eCare Decision Support team to address this patient safety concern. The BPA alerts providers in the ED or ED Observation when the next dose of broad-spectrum antibiotic dose is due for a patient if no future administration has been ordered, based on patient characteristics (such as renal function) and antibiotic selection. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of this BPA on our performance in terms of on-time antibiotics through a randomized controlled trial. Patients whose medical record number (MRN) are odd will be assigned to the treatment group, while those whose MRNs are even will be assigned to the control group. The BPA will only be displayed to the patient's providers for the treatment group. We will then compare the performance of on-time antibiotics between the groups and the resulting impact on patient outcomes, such as overall hospital length of stay, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and in-hospital mortality.

Condition Bacterial Infection, Bacterial Infections, Septicemia, Sepsis and Septicemia, Sepsis and Septicemia, Bacterial Infections, systemic infection, systemic infections, sepsis, sepsis syndrome, Alert Fatigue, Health Personnel, Alert Fatigue, Health Personnel
Treatment Epic Best Practice Alert
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04620486
SponsorMassachusetts General Hospital
Last Modified on27 January 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

All adult patients (>= 18 years old) who are seen in a Mass General Brigham Emergency Department who had a specific anchor antibiotic administered

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