Pharmacy OneSource Blog

Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs: A National Priority for Reducing HAIs

The U.S. healthcare industry is waging a war against healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Regulatory movements are converging to ensure these preventable HAIs are thwarted at every turn—and antimicrobial stewardship is a key component of this effort.

Infection prevention and antimicrobial processes go hand-in-hand. When implemented effectively, these two strategies converge to reduce the incidence of HAIs and adverse events associated with inappropriate use of antibiotics. In fact, as a best practice, antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) engage pharmacy, infection prevention and other clinical specialties to help slow the development of drug-resistant bacteria and alleviate the burden of emerging multidrug-resistant organisms.

The current industry reality is that 20 percent to 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. Unlike other medications, misused antibiotics contribute to the spread of resistant organisms and can adversely impact the health of patients who are not even exposed to them. This end result is an alarming increase of antibiotic resistance, which has become one of the most serious and growing threats to public health.

Clinicians addressing infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship are critical players in helping hospitals optimize incentive payments under value-based initiatives that specifically address such avoidable problems as central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), surgical site infections (SSIs) and C. difficile infection. Coordinated infection prevention efforts within an ASP improve the use of antimicrobial agents by encouraging the appropriate choice of drug, regimen, dosing, duration and route of therapy.

The key to success is having access to the right data at the right time. For this reason, many hospitals are leveraging a two-pronged approach to ASP success that draws on a solid surveillance and clinical decision support infrastructure working in tandem with the core elements of a high-performing ASP. This powerful combination of data-driven workflows and governance has been proven to elevate performance around quality, length of stay, patient safety, and mortality, translating into millions of dollars of savings for hospitals and health systems.

A web-based, real-time clinical surveillance and decision support system like Sentri7® can:

  • Automate real-time data aggregation from EMRs and other disparate lab and clinical systems on a continuous basis, flagging potential infection and antimicrobial issues quickly and provide evidence-based recommendations to enable proactive clinical response.
  • Provide actionable, risk-stratified information, drawing attention to urgent issues and the greatest opportunities for improvement.
  • Simplify and significantly reduce time associated with regulatory reporting requirements and streamline preparation of meaningful management reports.
  • Support clinicians through development of dashboards, clinical rules and reports that automatically fit into workflows without IT support.
  • Provide actionable, evidence-based information at the point of care that enables clinicians to immediately address issues, optimize quality and deliver consistent care.

High-performing ASPs that leverage advanced surveillance infrastructures facilitate better stewardship through more efficient targeting of antimicrobial interventions, tracking of antimicrobial resistance patterns and identification of HAIs. A collaborative approach that engages infection preventionists and pharmacists, along with other members of the multidisciplinary teams can help reduce risk and optimize performance.

Clinical surveillance system to support infection prevention. Download guide.

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