Study: Online Checklists Can Reduce Improper Antibiotic Prescribing

December 4, 2014 in News

Using an online checklist can help reduce unnecessary or improper prescribing of antibiotics, thereby cutting costs, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Health Data Management reports.

Details of Study

For the study, researchers from the McGill University Health Center in Montreal examined the use of “time-outs” during treatment, when providers re-evaluate treatment plans as situations change.

Specifically, physicians used online checklists to review:

  • Changes in the type of prescribed antibiotics;
  • Doses; and
  • Duration of treatment.

Providers also were educated about antibiotic prescription guidelines.

They participated in twice-weekly reviews of the patients receiving antibiotics.

The study involved 679 patients and was conducted over 18 months (Goth, Health Data Management, 12/1).


The study found that checklist interventions reduced improper or unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics, reducing the amount spent on such drugs by CA$69,424 — or about $61,100 U.S. dollars. Specifically, drug costs fell from CA$149,734 to CA$80,319 during the study period.

Further, the study found that the interventions helped lead to reduced rates of some drug-resistant bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 12/1)

Senior study author Louise Pilote said the online checklists and education practice combined “could translate into better prescribing practices,” adding, “In general, physicians believed the process improved their comfort with antibiotics and provided clinical value” (Health Data Management, 12/1).

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