In addition to quality indicators, evolving technology has allowed mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to be utilised to collect data on antibiotic prescribing in real-time into spreadsheets or mobile apps that can generate results immediately.
This allows data to be shared with clinical teams regularly and crucially, when the patients/prescriptions being audited are still on the ward. Real-time feedback can result in optimisation of prescriptions to achieve the best outcomes for patients. This also provides a great opportunity for educating front line clinicians about antibiotic use on an ongoing basis.
The availability of easy to use apps opens up data collection to all members of the clinical team and data on antibiotic prescribing can be collected as part of routine practice rather than as a separate audit process. Inclusion of antibiotic data collection via an app can easily fit into daily ward rounds or be included in duties performed by the clinical pharmacist within their own wards.
As data management systems become more available and more comprehensive in some countries and use of electronic prescribing and administration of medicines increases in hospitals, this will increase the volume of data available to allow antimicrobial teams to assess the quality of prescribing. However, for many countries across the world, this digital age is still a long way off and simple qualitative methods like PPS and quality indicators along with quantitative information about antibiotic consumption will continue to be the mainstay of assessing antibiotic use.