The golden hour: Sustainability and clinical outcomes of adequate time to antibiotic administration in children with cancer and febrile neutropenia in northwestern mexico


PURPOSE Time to antibiotic administration (TTA) is a commonly used standard of care in pediatric cancer settings in high-income countries. Effective interventions to improve outcomes in cancer patients with febrile neutropenia (FN) often address timely and appropriate antibiotic administration. We assessed the effectiveness of a locally adapted multimodal strategy in decreasing TTA in a resource-constrained pediatric cancer center in Mexico. METHODS We conducted a prospective observational study between January 2014 and April 2019. A threephase (phase I: Execution, phase II: Consolidation, phase III: Sustainability) multimodal improvement strategy that combined system change, FN guideline development, education, auditing and monitoring, mentoring, and dissemination was implemented to decrease TTA in inpatient and ambulatory areas. Sustainability factors were measured by using a validated tool during phases I and III. RESULTS Our population included 105 children with cancer with 204 FN events. The baseline assessment revealed that only 50% of patients received antibiotics within 60 minutes of prescription (median time: Inpatient, 75 minutes; ambulatory, 65 minutes). After implementing our improvement strategy, the percentage of patients receiving antibiotics within 60 minutes of prescription increased to 88%. We significantly decreased median TTA in both clinical areas during the three phases of the study. In phase III (sustainability), the median TTA was 40 minutes (P = .023) in the inpatient area and 30 minutes (P = .012) in the ambulatory area. The proportion of patients with sepsis decreased from 30% (baseline) to 5% (phase III) (P = .001). CONCLUSION Our results demonstrate that locally adapted multimodal interventions can reduce TTA in resourceconstrained settings. Mentoring and dissemination were novel components of the multimodal strategy to improve FN-associated clinical outcomes. Improving local infrastructure, ongoing monitoring systems, and leadership engagement have been key factors to achieving sustainability during the 5-year period.

Publication Title

JCO Global Oncology