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Healio: Hospital intervention cuts rapid GAS testing by more than 50%

By Katherine Bortz

An intervention that included educating providers and families on guidelines for group A Streptococcus, or GAS, testing reduced the use of rapid streptococcal tests, or RSTs, by more than half among children aged younger than 3 years presenting to an urban ED, according to researchers.

“Streptococcal pharyngitis is common in the pediatric population; however, in patients aged younger than 3 years, GAS is a rare cause of sore throat, and sequelae — such as acute rheumatic fever — are rare,” Tania Ahluwalia, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and colleagues wrote. “Inappropriate testing leads to increased cost of health care and unnecessary exposure to antibiotics.”

In October 2016, the researchers led interventions to reduce GAS testing in children aged younger than 3 years at in the ED at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, an urban, tertiary pediatric ED. The interventions included education for providers, nurses, residents and families; weekly visual updates on the number of RSTs used in children aged younger than 3 years through a daily management system; and a real-time alert reminding providers when RST use was appropriate through the ED’s electronic medical record system.

“The success of this project was largely due to an interdisciplinary approach and an interest in practice improvement,” Ahluwalia and colleagues wrote. 


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