PRACTICE FORUM| Volume 28, ISSUE 6, P459-464, December 2000

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The Internet: A practical example of the use of new technology in the assessment of vancomycin use in pediatrics


      Background: The rapid emergence of both new infections and new technologies has revolutionized health care during the past 50 years. Increased use of the Internet has enabled health care professionals to educate, interact, and collaborate throughout the world in ways never before possible. Increased use of vancomycin has been associated with the emergence of organisms with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin, such as Enterococcus and staphylococcal species. The purpose of this article is to describe our experience using Internet technology to assess vancomycin use at children’s hospitals in the United States. Methods: A Web-based evaluation was developed and distributed on the Internet to 57 Pediatric Prevention Network hospitals. The evaluation was structured to collect summary statistics on vancomycin use and admissions data by service for 1997 and 1998. Results: Twenty-four hospitals were able to provide archived vancomycin use and patient admissions data; completed evaluations were returned from 15 hospitals (62.5% response rate). Personnel at 6 (40%) hospitals completed the evaluation directly on the Internet. Conclusions: In our study, Internet technology facilitated a more efficient evaluation of vancomycin use, but fewer than half of the personnel at Pediatric Prevention Network hospitals completed the evaluation directly on the Internet. It is unclear whether personnel at these hospitals were limited in Internet access, support, or understanding. Efforts should be directed to educate health care personnel on the advantages of the Internet. Furthermore, many of the pharmacy databases used in our assessment were not standardized across hospitals nor systematically validated. Understanding that limitations still remain—within the source of the data studied, the health care system sampled, and the Internet tools available—is essential because the Internet offers health care professionals today a tool both to protect patients and to improve quality throughout the world. (AJIC Am J Infect Control 2000;28:459-64)
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