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Once you decide that an antibiogram will be a useful tool for your facility, there are a few things to consider.

1. What will you need to create the antibiogram?
2. What data are needed to create an antibiogram?
3. How do you interpret your antibiogram?
4. How will the tool be implemented in your facility?
5. How often will the antibiogram be updated?

What will you need to create the antibiogram?

To create your facility’s antibiogram, you will need some working knowledge of computers and a good understanding of culturing practices and infection control.

The resources included in this toolkit can be used with the 2007 (or later) Microsoft Office suite. The software recommended to create the antibiogram (WHONET) can be downloaded for free from the Internet at http:// It is important that you be able to use Microsoft Office and feel comfortable learning new software.

You will also need some knowledge of how the tool will be used in your facility. One factor to consider is whether the antibiogram will be used by physicians and health care workers in the entire facility or only by those on a certain floor or ward. This information may result in the decision to create separate antibiograms instead of one facility-wide tool. An infection control professional could be ideal for creating and maintaining your antibiogram as well as for teaching other personnel how to interpret the results.

What data are needed to create an antibiogram?

An antibiogram cannot be developed without specific information about your facility’s microbiological cultures. You will need to access the results of the cultures, including those concerning antibiotic susceptibilities. You can potentially obtain these data from several different sources.
Potential Data Sources
Laboratory—electronic or paper based

The most convenient way to obtain data for your facility’s antibiogram may be to contact the primary laboratory from which you obtain culture results. This laboratory may be independent or affiliated with another health care facility, such as a hospital.

The laboratory that processes your cultures will have a record of the antibiotic susceptibility tests performed for each culture. You may be able to ask the laboratory for this information. Whether you receive this information in electronic or paper format will affect how you process the data further. If at all possible, try to obtain your data electronically, either in a spreadsheet or text file. Paper-based results will require that the data be manually entered into a spreadsheet before using WHONET (See Tool “How to HAIs Enter Data Manually Into an Antibiogram Template” and Tool “Antibiogram Data Entry Form”).

Who do you ask for the data?

If you are not familiar with the staff of your primary laboratory, it can be difficult to determine how to best obtain the data for an antibiogram. You can contact the director of your primary laboratory. If you commonly use more than one facility, you may need to contact the director of each laboratory.

What data do you request?

After you have identified who will be sending you the necessary data, you can ask for culture data specific to your facility and within the date range of interest. You can begin with data spanning a minimum of 6 months, but a period of 1 year is recommended. Request the following data elements from your contact:

• Culture ID number • Patient ID number • Patient name • Culture date • Culture source • Culture results (organism(s))
• Antibiotic susceptibilities

If you will be adding elements to the laboratory data once you receive it, be sure to ask for the data in a spreadsheet format. You might want to add room numbers or other patient characteristics before converting the spreadsheet into a text file and importing the file into WHONET.

If the laboratory cannot send you this information electronically, ask if you can receive a printed report. As long as the data elements are present in the report, you can enter the information into a spreadsheet manually.

Resident medical charts

If you have difficulty obtaining the required data directly from your laboratory, you can review the charts of your residents and abstract the culture results by hand. You will want to record the culture information for every culture result in the timeframe of interest. If you have some record (e.g., billing or laboratory) of all of the cultures that were ordered during that timeframe, you should review all of the patient charts noted in that record. You will need the culture results for each culture that was ordered during your time period. If this information is located in individual charts, it may be easiest to photocopy the culture reports. You will then need to enter the information you collect into a spreadsheet before WHONET can be used. The information can be directly entered into a spreadsheet from the resident charts as well. A spreadsheet template is also available with the toolkit titled “Antibiogram Data Entry Form.” If you have to use this method, you may find it makes sense to collect this information prospectively or on a monthly basis. Then, after a period of 6 months to 1 year, you can create an antibiogram. You may also find it helpful to keep the culture reports in a binder in order of date.
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