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Penicillin allergy is commonly reported, but true allergy is rare. Inpatients with reported beta-lactam allergy are often treated with alternative antibiotics. Penicillin skin testing (PST) is not universally available for inpatients. We designed a four-phase quality improvement project aimed to increase the percentage of inpatients on medical services with reported beta-lactam allergy who safely receive beta-lactam antibiotics at two hospitals with limited access to PST. First, we updated our hospital guideline to allow for cephalosporin graded challenge without antecedent PST. Second, we educated physicians, physician assistants, and nurses about the new guideline and beta-lactam allergy classification and management. Third, we designed a pocket card to reinforce the education. Last, we used antimicrobial stewardship software to screen our daily census to identify opportunities to improve management of patients with reported beta-lactam allergies. We observed a 29.2% increase in the percentage of patients who received beta-lactam antibiotics (excluding carbapenems) among those with reported beta-lactam allergy, from 42.2% (470/1,115) at baseline to 54.5% (379/696), p < 0.001, during the project period. There was a decrease in the use of alternative antibiotics, no change in hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile cases, and no increase in the number of infectious disease or allergy consults. The number of graded challenges increased during the project period, without any anaphylaxis events. A multiphase quality improvement project aimed to improve management of beta-lactam allergies and access to graded challenges led to an increase in beta-lactam utilization without an increase in anaphylaxis, even with limited access to PST. Copyright © 2021 The Joint Commission. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Rebecca E Berger, Harjot K Singh, Angela S Loo, Victoria Cooley, Snezana Nena Osorio, Jennifer I Lee, Matthew S Simon. Improving Antibiotic Stewardship for Inpatients with Reported Beta-Lactam Allergies and Limited Access to Penicillin Skin Testing. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety. 2022 Mar;48(3):147-153

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PMID: 35031256

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