The ARK-hospital module was originally developed by a team of front-line clinicians working in acute medicine, pharmacy, microbiology, and infectious diseases in collaboration with researchers at the Universities of Southampton, Oxford and Sussex. The learning supports a two-step approach to antibiotic prescribing in which clinicians prescribe initial time-limited antibiotics while diagnostic information is gathered and then stopped, revised or continued in line with the good practice set out in Start Smart then Focus.
The work was originally funded by the NIHR Research Programmes for Applied Research in 2016. BSAC secured funding through Health Education England in 2019 to make the learning freely available to healthcare staff.
Prof. Martin Llewelyn of Brighton and Sussex Medical School, who led the clinical evaluation of ARK within the original research said:
“I’m delighted to see so much engagement with the ARK learning especially at a time when front-line staff are working so hard to deal with the COVID pandemic. Patients with COVID are often prescribed antibiotics and the ARK-hospital approach can certainly help prescribers make sure these are discontinued appropriately to minimise the negative impact of COVID on antibiotic over use.
“The COVID pandemic has delayed final outputs of the ARK-hospital project an extension of the work has been secured from NIHR and full data on the qualitative and quantitative impact of ARK on antibiotic use will be published over the next 12 months.”