Antibiotics in the Emergency Department

Grant ID: EMTR-110R27-2017

Project Summary

In the Emergency Department (ED) deciding who does and who does not need antibiotics can be difficult. There is no quick test that an Emergency doctor can perform that accurately tells them who needs antibiotics or what type of antibiotic to prescribe. Our study aims to find out how many patients are given antibiotics in the ED and what proportion of those antibiotics are not required or have been given incorrectly (incorrect type or dose). Our study also aims to identify factors that are associated with poor antibiotic choices, including doctor experience and time of antibiotic prescription.


In this project, the research team conducted a retrospective, observational study of current practice, collecting data on all patients who presented to the Gold Coast University Hospital Emergency Department during the study period.

Through this research, it was found that antibiotics were commonly prescribed in the Emergency Department, with 1 in 8 patient presentations involving the prescription of at least one antibiotic. Most patients who were prescribed antibiotics in the Emergency Department were not critically ill. Further, when assessed against evidence-based guidelines by a panel of experts, 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions were assessed as being inappropriate.

According to the Principal Investigator, Dr Kerina Denny, the study demonstrates the pressing need to develop initiatives to improve antibiotic prescribing to prevent unnecessary antibiotic-associated patient and community harms

Leveraged Funds

- $250,000 - Queensland Health Junior Research Fellowship
- $27,000 - In-Kind


Denny, K.J., Gartside, J.G., Alcorn, K., Cross, J.W., Maloney, S. and Keijzers, G., 2019. Appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing in the emergency department. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 74(2), pp.515-520.

Conference presentations
- Denny KJ (2018), "How I became an antibiotic resistance fighter", AMAQ Junior Doctor Research Conference (Invited speaker) Brisbane June 2018
- Gartside J, Gunter A, Keijzers G, Alcorn K, Cross J, Maloney S, Hughes I, and Denny KJ (2017), "Antimicrobial prescribing in a tertiary-level Emergency Department", Gold Coast Health Research Week Conference (Poster presentation), Gold Coast 2017


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Kerina Denny

Co Investigators:
Prof Gerben Keijzers

Prof Gerben Keijzers

Associate Investigators:
Dr Kylie Alcorn
Dr Samuel Maloney
Dr Jessica Gartside
Mr Jack Cross


CONTACT US +61 7 3112 8668 Suite 1A 34 Sherwood Road Toowong, Qld 4066