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How is data collected?

Explanation of how PPS data can be collected.
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© “Fresh Start” flickr photo by cogdogblog, shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Ideally a PPS would collect information about all patients in a hospital prescribed antibiotics on the same day.

However, this is seldom practical, so usually a PPS will be carried out over a specified period of time to enable data collection staff to visit all wards. All wards included will only be visited once during the data collection period. If the study is a national or international PPS then all hospitals will be visited by data collectors over the same 1-2 month period to minimise the impact of seasonal variability on comparison between participating sites.

The two ways data are collected in PPS are using paper forms or direct entry into an on-line system. Paper forms are still commonly used.

As mentioned in the previous step, one form is completed for every ward visited with the description of the ward and the denominator data.

A form is also completed for each patient prescribed antibiotics at 8am on the day of the survey which records information about their characteristics, the antimicrobial prescribed and the reasons for treatment.

Below is an example of the data to be completed.

Table showing example of data to be collected. The columns are titled 'data element' and 'data options'. Examples include 'name of drug - from filtered WHO drug list', 'route - parenteral, oral, rectal, inhalation', 'day of therapy - 1-28, 29+, long term, unknown'

These forms usually follow a standard format and will contain details of specific codes that may be required.

An advantage of paper forms is they are straightforward to complete and do not require any additional information technology at the point of data collection. A disadvantage is that the information from the paper forms needs to be entered into some form of database to undertake the analysis and basic reporting.

More recently and increasingly, data collection is web-based using a variety of apps and programmes.

The advantage of using technology is the speed of data capture and the automation of data analysis and feedback. The disadvantage is they do require smart phone, tablet or access to the web.

We will look at some on-line data collection tools in Step 1.14

Try it out

If you have not participated in a PPS before you may find it useful to try collecting data for a few patients to see how it feels to collect this data or you could collect data for all patients in your ward.

A simplified data collection tool for you to use can be download here.

An example of a completed from is available here.

It may look like a large task to collect this data set for all patients on antibiotics, but several studies from various countries have shown that on average one-third of patients in a ward will be prescribed an antibiotic on a given day. So that means, for a 30-bedded ward, there will be ten patients receiving an antibiotic for whom you would collect data.

Before moving on to the next step, download the tool and collect data for a few patients on your ward.

Additionally, have a think about what challenges you might face and how you would overcome them – share your thoughts in the comments below and respond to other learners.

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Challenges in Antibiotic Resistance: Point Prevalence Surveys

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