Methods: We adapted the General Practice version of the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (GP NAPS) tool to audit antimicrobial use over 2–3 weeks in 15 remote primary healthcare clinics across the Kimberley region of Western Australia (03/2018–06/2018), Top End of the Northern Territory (08/2017–09/2017) and far north Queensland (05/2018–06/2018). At each clinic we reviewed consecutive clinic presentations until 30 presentations where antimicrobials had been used were included in the audit. Data recorded included the antimicrobials used, indications and treating health professional. We assessed the appropriateness of antimicrobial use and functionality of the tool.
Results: We audited the use of 668 antimicrobials. Skin and soft tissue infections were the dominant treatment indications (WA: 35%; NT: 29%; QLD: 40%). Compared with other settings in Australia, narrow spectrum antimicrobials like benzathine benzylpenicillin were commonly given and the appropriateness of use was high (WA: 91%; NT: 82%; QLD: 65%). While the audit was informative, non-integration with practice software made the process manually intensive.
Conclusions: Patterns of antimicrobial use in remote primary care are different from other settings in Australia. The adapted GP NAPS tool functioned well in this pilot study and has the potential for integration into clinical care. Regular stewardship audits would be facilitated by improved data extraction systems.