The value of data comparison
PPS data is most useful to monitor trends over time.
This can be done in a specific ward or hospital and at various time intervals to track changes in prescribing of specific antibiotics, overall use of antibiotics or the types of infections being treated.
If patient demographic information is collected, then this can also be analysed to review the age and gender of patients with infections requiring antibiotic treatment over time.
PPS data can also be used for benchmarking, i.e. comparing wards or hospitals or even countries with each other.
Comparing similar wards within a hospital may be useful to identify differences in patterns of antibiotic use and potential areas where some wards could make improvements. Perhaps diagnosis of some infections is not robust, resulting in under- or over-treatment or compliance with the local policy is poor. These are important findings which can negatively impact the stewardship programme and promote antimicrobial resistance at a local level.
Comparing similar hospitals within a region or country may also be useful to identify outliers, e.g. are some hospitals using more antibiotics than others, using more ‘protected’ antibiotics or showing poor compliance with local antibiotic policy.