Pharmacy OneSource Blog

Antimicrobial Stewardship Gap Analysis: How Robust is Your Program?

Hospitals and health systems increasingly recognize the need to implement high-performing antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) and identify where current efforts fall short. In response, Pharmacy OneSource released a complimentary Antimicrobial Stewardship Gap Analysis earlier this year to help healthcare organizations evaluate their current processes and benchmark against industry best practices.

The urgency around antimicrobial stewardship is clear. The World Health Organization currently ranks inappropriate use of antibiotics as one of the three greatest threats to human health, and U.S. statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are equally alarming:

  • Multidrug resistant organisms infect two million people annually in the U.S., resulting in roughly eight million hospital days and causing 23,000 deaths.
  • Up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. hospitals are inappropriate.
  • The cost of antibiotic resistance is staggering—$20 to $35 billion annually.

To prompt greater action across the healthcare industry, national efforts are underway to raise the bar on antimicrobial stewardship in U.S. hospitals. Current initiatives require the establishment of formal ASPs, and the potential bottom-line impact for non-compliance is getting the attention of the C-Suite.

While most hospitals have some antimicrobial processes in place, many do not fully align with the CDC’s core elements of an effective ASP. As such, clinical and financial leaders need direction and expertise to identify infrastructures and processes that lead to high performance. A gap analysis provides a best-practice starting point to help ensure efforts and resources are strategically focused on areas that will deliver the greatest return.

For example, Pharmacy OneSource data reveals that infancy stage programs often lack a formal ASP committee that is comprised of a broad array of disciplines. In addition, efforts to address antimicrobial resistance often rely on time-consuming manual processes as opposed to automation. These programs can substantially benefit from electronic surveillance systems to speed identification of potential issues, such as at-risk patients and orders for inappropriate antibiotics, as well as aggregate real-time data to keep antibiograms up-to-date, detailed and actionable.

Programs at the intermediate stage are often missing best-practice protocols for addressing such areas as de-escalation, duplicative antibiotic review, IV-to-PO conversion and 48-hour antibiotic time-outs without cultures that support a bacterial infection. Program enhancement could include documentation of all interventions and acceptance rates by providers or use of an electronic surveillance system to facilitate intervention reporting. Even high-performing ASPs offer opportunities for improvement, and a gap analysis can uncover specific areas for optimizing efforts.

Because the opportunity for improvement is significant, resource-strapped hospitals are increasingly looking to third party expertise. In fact, hospitals and health systems across the country are realizing significant gains from the powerhouse combination of Sentri7® clinical surveillance solution and OneSource Clinical Services. Together, this Pharmacy OneSource offering offers the robust technological infrastructure, clinical expertise and workflow analysis needed to move ASPs from infancy to maturity and align with national regulatory movements.

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about how we are expanding our gap analysis and antimicrobial services through OneSource Clinical Services. A new, comprehensive offering promises to help healthcare organizations bridge the gap between current state and high performance with ASPs.

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