Effect of Combined Clinical Practice Guideline and Electronic Order Set Implementation on Febrile Infant Evaluation and Management

Russell J. McCulloh, Tessa Commers, David D. Williams, Jeffrey Michael, Keith Mann, Jason G. Newland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective Management of febrile infants 60 days and younger for suspected serious infection varies widely. Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are intended to improve clinician adherence to evidence-based practices. In 2011, a CPG for managing febrile infants was implemented in an urban children's hospital with simultaneous release of an electronic order set and algorithm to guide clinician decisions for managing infants for suspected serious bacterial infection. The objective of the present study was to determine the association of CPG implementation with order set use, clinical practices, and clinical outcomes. Methods Records of febrile infants 60 days and younger from February 1, 2009, to January 31, 2013, were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical documentation, order set use, clinical management practices, and outcomes were compared pre-CPG and post-CPG release. Results In total, 1037 infants pre-CPG and 930 infants post-CPG implementation were identified. After CPG release, more infants 29 to 60 days old underwent lumbar puncture (56% vs 62%, P = 0.02). Overall antibiotic use and duration of antibiotic use decreased for infants 29 to 60 days (57% vs 51%, P = 0.02). Blood culture and urine culture obtainment remained unchanged for older infants. Diagnosed infections, hospital readmissions, and length of stay were unchanged. Electronic order sets were used in 80% of patient encounters. Conclusions Antibiotic use and lumbar puncture performance modestly changed in accordance with CPG recommendations provided in the electronic order set and algorithm, suggesting that the presence of embedded prompts may affect clinician decision-making. Our results highlight the potential usefulness of these decision aids to improve adherence to CPG recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E25-E31
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • current practice guidelines
  • febrile infant
  • order sets
  • serious bacterial infection


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