proton pump inhibitors; drug therapy; inappropriate prescribing; quality improvement; pharmacy; clinical decision support; metrics; acid suppressant therapy; histamine type 2-receptor antagonist


Chemicals and Drugs | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences



Ensuring the appropriate use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine type 2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) is an important hospital patient safety and quality initiative because therapy may be inappropriately continued during transitions of care. In this article, we aim to describe the impact of targeted quality improvement strategies to reduce unnecessary acid suppression use in hospitalized patients across a large health system.


Beginning January 1, 2018, focused quality improvement strategies to prevent unnecessary initiation and continuation of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine type 2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) were implemented throughout a large health system. Targeted strategies were initially tested as part of the PPI deprescribing Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) International Innovators Network initiative and were expanded to include H2RAs for hospitalized patients. Strategies to decrease PPIs and H2RAs during hospitalization included standardization of stress ulcer prophylaxis care pathways, evidence-based order set modifications, technology-driven support, and clinical pharmacy metric performance to goal. PPI/H2RA days of therapy (DOT) per 1000 patient days were measured from the first quarter (1Q) of 2017 to the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2021 to determine if implemented strategies resulted in improvement.


After quality improvement strategies were implemented, the number of PPI/H2RA DOT was reduced by 7.9 days per 1000 patient days each quarter over 4 years. The average PPI/ H2RA DOT per 1000 patient days decreased from 592 (1Q 2017) to 439 (4Q 2021). In the fourth quarter of 2018, 45 hospitals (28%) achieved a 10% reduction in combined PPI/H2RA DOT per 1000 patient days, and 121 hospitals (97%) attained the goal of greater than 25% of eligible patients deprescribed PPI/H2RA for ICU patients in the fourth quarter of 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020, 97 hospitals (87%) met the metric of 40% or more of eligible patients deprescribed from PPI/H2RA in or after an ICU stay, and 85 hospitals (87%) reached 50% or more of eligible patients deprescribed PPI/H2RA in or after an ICU stay in 4Q2021.


Targeted quality improvement strategies decreased unnecessary PPI and H2RA use for a large health system over 4 years. Continually evaluating measured results along with establishing a new clinical pharmacy metric goal each year to encourage further improvement contributed to deprescribing success.