Implementing a new antibiotic allergy protocol in clinical practice: well-trusted but not used

P Hanssen*, C Nieuwhof, S van Mens, A van de Plas, K Horstman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Suboptimal antibiotic prescriptions in patients with an antibiotic allergy label lead to increased incidence of adverse events and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). An antibiotic allergy protocol was developed in a Dutch academic hospital guiding optimal and safe antibiotic use in potentially penicillin-allergic patients. Informed by previous studies of implementation processes in clinical care, we studied the implementation of this protocol.

Methods: Medical professionals in the Departments of Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Pulmonary Care were interviewed. Additionally, focus groups were conducted in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Care to validate the outcomes of the interviews.

Results: Dissemination of the protocol via the regular online hospital-wide guidance system did not have a significant impact on the knowledge about or use of the protocol. If healthcare professionals found the protocol, they thought it was valuable and expressed trust in the expertise embodied in it. However, its use in practice was rather minimal. Interviewees doubted the accuracy of the patient's histories about their previous adverse drug reactions, and/or the information in their medical records and concluded that adherence to the expert guideline was needlessly risky. They felt the acute allergic reaction risk for a patient outweighed the risk of suboptimal therapy or future AMR.

Conclusions: For successful implementation and dissemination of the protocol, the accessibility of the protocol, the information about the actual risks of following the protocol and the registration of allergic history should be improved. However, whether this actually results in improvement also depends on changes in the hospital culture and organization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number077
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJAC-Antimicrobial Resistance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021



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