OBJECTIVE:

There is a high risk for morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients with fever if antibiotics are not received in a timely manner. We designed a quality improvement effort geared at reducing the time to antibiotic delivery for this high risk population.

METHODS:

The setting was the emergency department in an academic pediatric tertiary care hospital that sees ∼60 000 patients annually. We assembled a multidisciplinary team who set a target of 60 minutes from time of presentation to antibiotic delivery for patients with known neutropenia and 90 minutes for patients with possible neutropenia. Quality improvement methods were used to effect change and evaluate when the targets were not met. Improved communication between providers and patients and timely feedback were implemented.

RESULTS:

Mean time to antibiotic delivery in febrile oncology patients with known neutropenic status dropped from 99 minutes in the preimplementation period to 49 minutes in the postimplementation period, whereas it dropped from 90 minutes to 81 minutes in possibly neutropenic patients. The percentage of patients who met the targets for time to antibiotics rose from 50% to 88.5%.

CONCLUSIONS:

A multidisciplinary team approach and standardization of the process of care were effective in reducing the time from arrival to antibiotic delivery for febrile neutropenic patients in the pediatric emergency department.

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