Antimicrobial use surveillance in Tasmanian rural hospitals.

Ms Fiona Wilson1, Dr Tara Anderson1

1Public Health Services, Department Of Health And Human Services, Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Introduction: The Tasmanian Infection Prevention and Control (TIPCU) conducted a pilot of antimicrobial use surveillance in three rural hospitals in 2014. This was rolled out to all 13 Tasmanian rural hospitals from 2015 onwards with data on inpatient antimicrobial use collected by rural hospital nursing staff over one calendar month each year.

Methods: Data is collected by the rural hospitals and appropriateness assessed by an Infectious Diseases Physician in accordance with the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS) definitions. Data is entered into the NAPS portal. Feedback and a report is provided to the individual hospitals. In addition, TIPCU has co-ordinated additional activities including meetings with the GP liaison group, an on-line survey of rural hospital prescribers in relation to antimicrobial stewardship, distribution of cephalosporin prescribing poster and community onset pneumonia treatment guidelines to rural hospitals, provision of an AMS webinar and provision of a hard-copy of the Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic to all rural inpatient sites.

Results:  The most common indications for antimicrobial use remain respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections and urinary tract infections. Appropriateness of prescribing has increased from 51% in 2015 to 74% in 2017. Turnaround time for reporting to the hospitals has decreased from 6 months to 3 months.

Conclusions: TIPCU manage the only Australian state-wide surveillance program of antimicrobial use in rural hospitals. Improvements in the appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing over the life of the program may reflect improvements in engagement with, and provision of feedback and education to, the rural hospitals and prescribers.


Fiona Wilson is a Registered Nurse who has a background in infectious diseases nursing and has been working in Infection Prevention and Control since 1997 in Victoria and Tasmania. Fiona currently works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Tasmanian Infection Prevention and Control Unit within Public Health Services in the Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania.

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