Background: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a leading cause of hospital admissions and is diagnosed based on urinary symptoms and microbiological cultures. Due to lags in the availability of culture results of up to 72 hours, and the limitations of routine diagnostics, many patients with suspected UTI are started on antibiotic treatment unnecessarily. Predictive models based on routinely collected clinical information may help clinicians to rule out a diagnosis of bacterial UTI in low-risk patients shortly after hospital admission, providing additional evidence to guide antibiotic treatment decisions.
Methods: Using electronic hospital records from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) collected between 2011 and 2017, we aim to develop a series of models that estimates the probability of bacterial UTI at presentation in the emergency department (ED) among individuals with suspected UTI syndromes. Predictions will be made during ED attendance and at different time points after hospital admission to assess whether predictive performance may be improved over time as more information becomes available about patient status. All models will be externally validated for expected future performance using QEHB data from 2018/19.
Discussion: Risk prediction models using electronic health records offer a new approach to improve antibiotic prescribing decisions, integrating clinical and demographic data with test results to stratify patients according to their probability of bacterial infection. Used in conjunction with expert opinion, they may help clinicians to identify patients that benefit the most from early antibiotic cessation.