Document Type


Publication Date

May 2018


Purpose: Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) cause about 15 million cases of infection that result in more than 869,000 annual hospitalizations in the United States. Cellulitis accounted for 63% of all patients hospitalized with SSTIs between 2009 and 2011. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate physician adherence rates to evidence-based practice guidelines. Secondary objectives included evaluating antibiotic selection preferences and duration of therapy. The goal of the project was to generate data to inform the development of a hospital-based protocol for nonnecrotizing SSTI treatment. Methods: This study was a single-center, retrospective, electronic chart review of patients admitted to the hospital for nonnecrotizing SSTI. We reviewed charts of patients who were admitted with a diagnosis of cellulitis and abscess infection from August 2014 to August 2015. Results: Vancomycin, piperacillin/tazobactam, and clindamycin were the initial empiric antibiotics used most frequently. The adherence rates to guideline-recommended empiric antibiotic therapy and duration of treatment were about 40% and 70%, respectively. The median duration of antibiotic therapy was 12 days. Male gender and presence of purulent discharge as independent variables led to poor adherence to guideline-recommended empiric antibiotic therapy (male versus female gender, 35% versus 50.8%; P = 0.045; purulent discharge [yes versus no], 23.9% versus 60.4%; P < 0.0001). Conclusions: The results showed substantial noncompliance with guideline recommendations on empiric antibiotic selection for the treatment of nonnecrotizing SSTIs. There is a substantial opportunity for clinical pharmacist intervention in ensuring the efficient utilization of hospital resources to improve guideline compliance; promote appropriate antibiotic selection; reduce unnecessary antibiotic exposure; and reduce cost of hospitalization.