As the CDC reports, at least 30% of antibiotics prescribed in hospital clinic, doctor's offices and emergency departments are unnecessary. This equates to 47 million unnecessary prescriptions written in those settings. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of the infections.
Such statistics emphasize the need for organizations to develop and maintain antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. As of 2015, about 50% of all hospitals had instituted an AMS program. The White House issued a "National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" in 2015, which included a goal of 100% of hospitals establishing an AMS program by 2020.
CDC provides links to a few websites of hospital AMS programs throughout the country to serve as examples intended to assist organizations with developing their own AMS programs. Included is a link to the AMS program website for the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospitals.
The program is named "GotaBug." The following are steps the program advises hospital staff members to take to help reduce antimicrobial resistance:
- Take an antibiotic "Time Out" as part of your daily rounds
- Reassess antimicrobial therapy based on cultures and susceptibilities
- Pick the correct drug, dose and duration
- De-escalate broad spectrum antimicrobials whenever possible
- Stop antimicrobials when no longer needed
- Get your annual flu shots
- Wash your hands
Florida-based infection control consultant Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, president and founder of Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), and the ICCS team of consultants assist healthcare organizations with the development of AMS programs as part of their ongoing effort to preventing infections. To learn about how ICCS can help your organization, contact ICCS.