Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Implementation in a Saudi Medical City: An Exploratory Case Study.
Shebl, Nada Atef
Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) in hospitals have long been shown to improve antimicrobials’ use and reduce the rates of antimicrobial resistance. However, their implementation in hospitals, especially in developing countries such as Saudi Arabia, remains low. One of the main barriers to implementation is the lack of knowledge of how to implement them. This study aims to explore how an antimicrobial stewardship programme was implemented in a Saudi hospital, the challenges faced and how they were overcome, and the program outcomes. A key stakeholder case study design was used, involving in-depth semi-structured interviews with the core members of the ASP team and analysis of 35 ASP hospital documents. ASP implementation followed a top-down approach and involved an initial preparatory phase and an implementation phase, requiring substantial infectious diseases and clinical pharmacy input throughout. Top management support was key to the successful implementation. ASP implementation reduced rates of multi-drug resistance and prescription of broad-spectrum antimicrobials. The implementation of ASPs in hospital is administrator rather than clinician driven. Outsourcing expertise and resources may help hospitals address the initial implementation challenges