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Success Stories

Cincinnati Children’s Uses VigiLanz to Identify Patients with Penicillin Allergies

Customer Profile 

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of the country’s oldest and most respected pediatric hospitals. Known for excellence in patient care, research, and medical education, the 622-bed hospital ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.


Hospitals face multiple challenges when caring for patients with penicillin allergy labels. When a person has a penicillin allergy, they often receive alternative broad-spectrum antibiotics in place of a penicillin. Alternative broad-spectrum antibiotics often cost more, have more side effects, and are not as effective.

Many patients with penicillin allergy labels may not need an alternative broad-spectrum antibiotic instead of a penicillin. That’s because most patients who have had a penicillin-associated reaction may not actually be allergic to it. When re-exposed to the penicillin (such as amoxicillin), most patients will tolerate the penicillin again. This is also true for those who have a true allergy to the penicillin, as many patients are able to tolerate penicillin again 10 years after exposure.

In 2019, Cincinnati Children’s began looking for a way to better identify pediatric patients who fell into these categories and, as a result, could have their penicillin allergy labels cleared.


When Cincinnati Children’s launched this initiative, it had already been working with VigiLanz since 2013. The hospital’s positive experience with the clinical surveillance platform—and knowledge of its antibiotic stewardship software—led them to quickly explore how it could support their efforts.

The hospital’s Penicillin Allergy Testing Service (PATS) team began by setting up filters, notifications, and reports in the platform to build a registry of children that might benefit from the additional penicillin allergy testing. These filters automatically identified patients with penicillin, amoxicillin, and/or Augmentin allergies.

The PATS team also set up notifications within VigiLanz to receive automated email alerts to help the hospital rapidly identify more patients who could be safely tested for allergy labels. As a result, the hospital proactively identified more opportunities to clear penicillin allergy labels and initiate optimal treatment plans earlier, reducing costs and length of stay.

“VigiLanz has helped to ensure that patients are receiving the most preferred antibiotic,” said Michelle Wessels, a registered nurse at Cincinnati Children’s. “This is also leading to more effective—and less costly—medication usage.”


With VigiLanz, the PATS team has helped clear 74 out of 78 identified penicillin allergy labels, consistent with industry research that more than 95% of children who’ve experienced penicillin-associated reactions can tolerate penicillin in the future.

The PATS team has also identified patients that could benefit from testing that they would not have found otherwise, broadening their impact to more children throughout the organization.

“Overall, we’ve reduced costs and length of stay due to this approach,” said Wessels. “Most importantly, we’ve been able to provide optimal care to our patients during hospital admission, discharge, and recovery.”

Read more about how VigiLanz’s antimicrobial stewardship and pharmacy surveillance software are helping hospitals improve patient care.