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Antibiotic stewardship — the ultimate return on investment

Get Smart About Antibiotics: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did you know?

  1. Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health threats.
  2. Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases.
  3. Increased antibiotic resistance is compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics.
  4. Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving appropriate antibiotic use – ultimately saving lives.

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Save money with antibiotic stewardship

Antibiotic stewardship programs and interventions help ensure that patients get the right antibiotics at the right time for the right duration. Numerous studies have shown that implementing an antibiotic stewardship program can not only save lives, but can save significant healthcare dollars. Inpatient antibiotic stewardship programs have consistently demonstrated annual savings to hospitals and other healthcare facilities of $200,000 to $400,000.

Antibiotic stewardship programs are a “win‐win” for all involved.

  • A University of Maryland study showed one antibiotic stewardship program saved a total of $17 million over 8 years.
  • Antibiotic stewardship helps improve patient care and shorten hospital stays, thus benefiting patients as well as hospitals.
  • According to a University of Maryland study, implementation of one antibiotic stewardship program saved a total of $17 million over 8 years at one institution.
    • After the program was discontinued, antibiotic costs increased over $1 million in the first year (an increase of 23 percent) and continued to increase the following year.
  • In a study conducted at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, it was demonstrated that guidelines for management of community-acquired pneumonia could promote the use of shorter courses of therapy, saving money and promoting patient safety.
  • Targeting certain infections may decrease antibiotic use. For example, determining when and how to treat patients for urinary tract infections, the second most common bacterial infection leading to hospitalization, can lead to improved patient outcomes and cost savings.

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Promote antibiotic best practices — a first step in Antibiotic Stewardship:

  1. Ensure all orders have dose, duration, and indications
  2. Get cultures before starting antibiotics
  3. Take an “antibiotic timeout,” reassessing antibiotics after 48–72 hours

Why we must act now

  • Antibiotics are a shared resource – and becoming a scarce resource.
  • Appropriate use of existing antibiotics can limit the spread of antibiotic resistance, preserving antibiotics for the future.
  • Antibiotic resistance is not just a problem for the person with the infection. Some resistant bacteria have the potential to spread to others – promoting antibiotic-resistant infections.


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Healthcare facility administrators and payers can

Antibiotic Stewardship in
your facility will:
down arrowDecrease antibiotic
resistance
down arrowDecrease C. difficile
infections
down arrowDecrease costs
up arrowIncrease good patient
outcomes
  • Make appropriate antibiotic use a quality improvement and patient safety priority.
  • Focus on reducing unnecessary antibiotic use, which can reduce antibiotic-resistant infections, reduce Clostridium difficile infections, and reduce costs, while improving patient outcomes.
  • Emphasize and implement antibiotic stewardship programs and interventions for every facility — regardless of facility setting and size.
  • Monitor Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) performance measures on pharyngitis, upper respiratory infections, acute bronchitis, and antibiotic utilization.

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