Patient engagement with antibiotic messaging in secondary care: a qualitative feasibility study of the 'review and revise' experience

Fiona Mowbray, Katy Sivyer, Marta Santillo, Nicola Jones, Tim Peto, Sarah Walker, Martin Llewelyn, Lucy Yardley

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Background: We aimed to investigate and optimise the acceptability and usefulness of a patient leaflet about antibiotic prescribing decisions made during hospitalisation, and to explore individual patient experiences and preferences regarding the process of antibiotic prescription ‘review and revise’ which is a key strategy to minimise antibiotic overuse in hospitals.

Methods: In this qualitative study, run within the feasibility study of a large, cluster-randomised stepped wedge trial of 36 hospital organisations, a series of semi-structured, think-aloud telephone interviews were conducted and data were analysed using thematic analysis. Fifteen adult patients who had experienced a recent acute medical hospital admission during which they had been prescribed antimicrobials and offered a patient leaflet about antibiotic prescribing were recruited to the study.

 Participants reacted positively to the leaflet, reporting that it was both an accessible and important source of information which struck the appropriate balance between informing and reassuring. Participants all valued open communication with clinicians, and were keen to be involved in antibiotic prescribing decisions, with individuals reporting positive experiences regarding antibiotic prescription changes or stopping. Many participants had prior experience or knowledge of antibiotics and resistance, and generally welcomed efforts to reduce antibiotic usage. Overall, there was a feeling that healthcare professionals (HCPs) are trusted experts providing the most appropriate treatment for individual patient conditions.

Conclusions: This study offers novel insights into how patients within secondary care are likely to respond to messages advocating a reduction in the use of antibiotics through the ‘review and revise’ approach. Due to the level of trust that patients place in their care provider, encouraging HCPs within secondary care to engage patients with greater communication and information provision could provide great advantages in the drive to reduce antibiotic use. It may also be beneficial for HCPs to view patient experiences as cumulative events that have the potential to impact future behaviour around antibiotic use. Finally, pre-testing messages about antibiotic prescribing and resistance is vital to dispelling any misconceptions either around effectiveness of treatment for patients, or perceptions of how messages may be received.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages12
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2020


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