The objective was to optimize antibiotic choice and duration for uncomplicated skin/soft tissue infections (SSTIs) discharged from pediatric emergency departments (EDs) and urgent cares (UCs).


Pediatric patients aged 0 to 18 years discharged from 3 pediatric EDs and 8 UCs with a diagnosis of uncomplicated SSTIs were included. Optimal treatment was defined as 5 days of cephalexin for nonpurulent SSTIs and 7 days of clindamycin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for purulent SSTIs. Exclusion criteria included erysipelas, folliculitis, felon, impetigo, lymphangitis, paronychia, perianal abscess, phlegmon, preseptal or orbital cellulitis, and cephalosporin allergy. Baseline data were collected from January 2018 to June 2019. Quality improvement (QI) interventions began July 2019 with a revised SSTI guideline, discharge order set, and maintenance of certification (MOC) QI project. MOC participants received 3 education sessions, monthly group feedback, and individual scorecards. Balancing measures included return visits within 10 days requiring escalation of care. Data were monitored through March 2021.


In total, 9306 SSTIs were included. The MOC QI project included 50 ED and UC physicians (27% of eligible physicians). For purulent SSTI, optimal antibiotic choice, plus duration, increased from a baseline median of 28% to 64%. For nonpurulent SSTI, optimal antibiotic choice, plus duration, increased from a median of 2% to 43%. MOC participants had greater improvement than non-MOC providers (P < .010). Return visits did not significantly change pre- to postintervention, remaining <2%.


We improved optimal choice and reduced duration of antibiotic treatment of outpatient SSTIs. MOC participation was associated with greater improvement and was sustained after the intervention period.

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