Reporting hospitals' antibiotic timing in pneumonia: adverse consequences for patients?

Mark W. Friedberg, Ateev Mehrotra, Jeffrey A. Linder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective:To determine whether publicly reporting hospital scores on antibiotic timing in pneumonia (percentage of patients with pneumonia receiving antibiotics within 4 hours) has led to unintended adverse consequences for patients. Study Design: Retrospective analyses of 13,042 emergency department (ED) visits by adult patients with respiratory symptoms in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2001-2005. Methods: Rates of pneumonia diagnosis, antibiotic use, and waiting times to see a physician were compared before and after public reporting, using a nationally representative hospital sample. These outcomes also were compared between hospitals with different antibiotic timing scores. Results: There were no differences in rates of pneumonia diagnosis (10% vs 11% of all ED visits, P=. 72) or antibiotic administration (34% vs 35%, P=. 21) before and after antibiotic timing score reporting. Mean waiting times to be seen by a physician increased similarly for patients with and without respiratory symptoms (11-minute vs 6-minute increase, respectively; P=. 29). After adjustment for confounders, hospitals with higher 2005 antibiotic timing scores had shorter mean waiting times for all patients, but there were no significant score-related trends for rates of pneumonia diagnosis or antibiotic use. Conclusion: Despite concerns, public reporting of hospital antibiotic timing scores has not led to increased pneumonia diagnosis, antibiotic use, or a change in patient prioritization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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