This report describes a quality improvement initiative to implement a pharmacist-led antimicrobial time-out (ATO) in a large, freestanding pediatric hospital. Our goal was to reach 90% ATO completion and documentation for eligible patients hospitalized on general pediatric medicine or surgery services.


A multidisciplinary quality improvement team developed an ATO process and electronic documentation tool. Clinical pharmacists were responsible to initiate and document an ATO for pediatric medicine or surgery patients on or before the fifth calendar day of therapy. The quality improvement team educated pharmacists and physicians and provided ATO audit and feedback to the pharmacists. We used statistical process control methods to track monthly rates of ATO completion retrospectively from October 2017 through March 2018 and prospectively from April 2018 through April 2019. Additionally, we retrospectively evaluated the completion of 6 data elements in the ATO note over the final 12-month period of the study.


Among 647 eligible antimicrobial courses over the 19-month study period, the mean monthly documentation rate increased from 54.6% to 83.5% (p < 0.001). The mean ATO documentation rate increased from 32.8% to 74.2% (p < 0.001) for the pediatric medicine service and from 65.0% to 88.1% for the pediatric surgery service (p = 0.006). Among 302 notes assessed for completeness, 35.8% had all the required data fields completed. A tentative antimicrobial stop date was the data element completed least often (49.3%).


We implemented a pharmacist-led ATO, highlighting the role pharmacists play in antimicrobial stewardship. Additional efforts are needed to further increase ATO completion rates and to define treatment duration.

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