Project Snapshot

Surveillance Pillar

Reducing Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing in Emergency Departments and in Primary Care Settings in Alberta

Principal Investigator: Joan Robinson, MD

Co-Investigator(s): Cora Constantinescu, MD; Alena Tse-Chang, MD

Project Theme: Education and Societal Impact

The Aim

The focus of this project is promoting optimal use of antibiotics when children or adults are seen in a clinic or in an emergency department with a common bacterial infection.

Why is This Important?

Overuse of antibiotics leads to bacteria becoming resistant to these antibiotics. We need more research on how to convince doctors that they can practice safely without overusing antibiotics.


Doctors will prescribe the right antibiotic for the right duration in children with pneumonia or urinary tract infections and will not prescribe antibiotics for children or adults with viral respiratory tract infections.

Research Questions

  1. What type and duration of antibiotics are prescribed for children discharged from the ED with suspected UTI or pneumonia?
  2. How often do physicians in a clinic prescribe antibiotics without evidence that a child or adult has “Strep throat”?
  3. Will physicians change their practice based on circulation and presentation of a guideline? If not, will a focus group or other type of intervention increase guideline uptake?

Our Approach

Investigators in Edmonton and Calgary will be working together to improve use of antibiotics. Most antibiotics are prescribed in clinics or in Emergency Departments but most previous studies have focussed on use of antibiotics in patients admitted to hospital.

Current practice will be determined by reviewing recent cases. Doctors will be sent a comparison of what they do, what other doctors do and what guidelines recommend. Data will be collected again to see if the doctors improve. If not, we will meet with them to discuss what might work and will then give that a try. Data will then be collected again to see if that worked. 

Leveraged Sources of Support

  • Infrastructure at the UofA and UofC Departments of Pediatrics will be used to leverage the MIF funds

Knowledge & Technology: Exchange and Exploitation

  • A formal program to rationalize antibiotic use will be established and evaluated as a means of translating the knowledge gained into practice

Highly Qualified Personnel

  • 1 Research Assistant
  • 2 Research Scientists
  • 1 MSc Student
  • Medical students or residents will be involved in data analysis and in designing the interventions