Review| Volume 105, ISSUE 2, P130-141, June 2020

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The role of education in antimicrobial stewardship

Published:March 31, 2020DOI:


      The role of antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASPs) has expanded in health systems. ASP interventions often contain an educational component; however, current guidelines suggest that educational interventions should not be used alone but to support other stewardship interventions. Such interventions are most commonly directed towards prescribers (often general practice physicians) with few studies offering education towards other healthcare providers such as pharmacists, nurses, or even members of the stewardship team. Educational interventions are offered most frequently, but not exclusively, with concomitant stewardship interventions such as prospective audit and feedback. Such strategies appear to positively impact prescribing behaviours, but it is not possible to isolate the effect of education from other interventions. Common educational methods include one-time seminars and online e-learning modules, but unique strategies such as social media platforms, educational video games and problem-based learning modules have also been employed. Education directed towards patients often occurs in conjunction with education of local prescribers and wider community-based efforts to impact prescribing. Such studies evaluating patient education often include passive educational leaflets and focus most often on appropriate treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. Educational interventions appear to be an integral component of other interventions of ASPs; however, there is a paucity of evidence to support use as a stand-alone intervention outside of regional public health interventions. Future studies should focus on efficacy of educational interventions including providing education to non-prescribers and disease states beyond upper respiratory tract infections to demonstrate a broader role for education in ASP activities.


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