Attitudes and behaviours to antimicrobial prescribing following introduction of a smartphone App

Preet Panesar, Alisdair Jones, Alicia Aldous, Katharina Kranzer, Eamus Halpin, Helen Fifer, Bruce Macrae, Carmel Curtis, Gabriele Pollara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives :Our hospital replaced the format for delivering portable antimicrobial prescribing guidance from a paper-based pocket guide to a smartphone application (app). We used this opportunity to assess the relationship between its use and the attitudes and behaviours of antimicrobial prescribers. Methods We used 2 structured cross-sectional questionnaires issued just prior to and 3 months following the launch of the smartphone app. Ordinal Likert scale responses to both frequencies of use and agreement statements permitted quantitative assessment of the relationship between variables. Results The smartphone app was used more frequently than the pocket guide it replaced (p < 0.01), and its increased use was associated with sentiments that the app was useful, easy to navigate and its content relevant. Users who used the app more frequently were more likely to agree that the app encouraged them to challenge inappropriate prescribing by their colleagues (p = 0.001) and were more aware of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship (p = 0.005). Reduced use of the app was associated with agreement that senior physicians' preferences for antimicrobial prescribing would irrespectively overrule guideline recommendations (p = 0.0002). Conclusions Smartphone apps are an effective and acceptable format to deliver guidance on antimicrobial prescribing. Our findings suggest that they may empower users to challenge incorrect prescribing, breaking well-established behaviours, and thus supporting vital stewardship efforts in an era of increased antimicrobial resistance. Future work will need to focus on the direct impact on drug prescriptions as well as identifying barriers to implementing smartphone apps in other clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0154202
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


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