BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) have been advocated to improve antimicrobial utilization, but program implementation is variable.
OBJECTIVE: To determine associations of ASPs with facility characteristics and inpatient antimicrobial utilization measures in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system in 2012.
DESIGN: In 2012, the VA administered a survey on antimicrobial stewardship practices to designated ASP contacts at VA acute-care hospitals. From the survey, we identified 34 variables across three domains (evidence, organizational context, and facilitation) that were assessed, using multivariable LASSO (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) regression, against four antimicrobial utilization measures: aggregate acute care antimicrobial use, antimicrobial use in patients with noninfectious primary discharge diagnoses, missed opportunities to convert from parenteral to oral antimicrobial therapy, and double anaerobic coverage.
SETTING: All 130 VA facilities with acute care services.
RESULTS: Variables associated with at least three favorable changes in antimicrobial utilization included presence of postgraduate physician/pharmacy training programs, number of antimicrobial-specific order sets, frequency of systematic de-escalation review, presence of pharmacists and/or infectious diseases (ID) attendings on acute care ward teams, and formal ID training of the lead ASP pharmacist. Variables associated with two unfavorable measures included bed size, the level of engagement with VA Antimicrobial Stewardship Task Force online resources, and utilization of antimicrobial stop orders.
CONCLUSIONS: Formalization of ASP processes and presence of pharmacy and ID expertise are associated with favorable utilization. Systematic de-escalation review and order set establishment may be high-yield interventions.
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