Antimicrobial stewardship in remote primary healthcare across northern Australia

Cuningham, Will, Anderson, Lorraine, Bowen, Asha C., Buising, Kirsty, Connors, Christine, Daveson, Kathryn, Martin, Joanna, McNamara, Stacey, Patel, Bhavini, James, Rodney, Shanks, John, Wright, Kerr, Yarwood, Trent, Tong, Steven Y.C., and McVernon, Jodie (2020) Antimicrobial stewardship in remote primary healthcare across northern Australia. PeerJ, 8. e9409.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Background: The high burden of infectious disease and associated antimicrobial use likely contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. We aimed to develop and apply context-specific tools to audit antimicrobial use in the remote primary healthcare setting.

Methods: We adapted the General Practice version of the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (GP NAPS) tool to audit antimicrobial use over 2-3 weeks in 15 remote primary healthcare clinics across the Kimberley region of Western Australia (03/2018-06/2018), Top End of the Northern Territory (08/2017-09/2017) and far north Queensland (05/2018-06/2018). At each clinic we reviewed consecutive clinic presentations until 30 presentations where antimicrobials had been used were included in the audit. Data recorded included the antimicrobials used, indications and treating health professional. We assessed the appropriateness of antimicrobial use and functionality of the tool.

Results: We audited the use of 668 antimicrobials. Skin and soft tissue infections were the dominant treatment indications (WA: 35%; NT: 29%; QLD: 40%). Compared with other settings in Australia, narrow spectrum antimicrobials like benzathine benzylpenicillin were commonly given and the appropriateness of use was high (WA: 91%; NT: 82%; QLD: 65%). While the audit was informative, non-integration with practice software made the process manually intensive.

Conclusions: Patterns of antimicrobial use in remote primary care are different from other settings in Australia. The adapted GP NAPS tool functioned well in this pilot study and has the potential for integration into clinical care. Regular stewardship audits would be facilitated by improved data extraction systems.

Item ID: 64061
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Keywords: Antimicrobial stewardship, Remote primary healthcare, Indigenous Health, Antimicrobial resistance, Infectious disease, Antimicrobial use
Copyright Information: (C) 2020 Cuningham et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC GNT1131932, NHMRC GNT1145033, NHMRC GNT1117140
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2020 07:37
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420399 Health services and systems not elsewhere classified @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3214 Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences > 321403 Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 651
Last 12 Months: 90
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page