Pharmacy OneSource Blog

Coming in 2017: New Joint Commission Antimicrobial Stewardship Standards

The convergence of a number of alarming trends is heightening focus on antimicrobial stewardship. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is rampant in today’s hospitals and health systems, leading to increased resistance to infectious organisms. In addition, subpar prescribing practices result in safety risks for patients, and overprescribing of antibiotics creates notable waste.

In response, regulatory and accreditation bodies are taking action to reduce the sizeable impact of antibiotic resistant strains that currently touches 2 million individuals in the U.S. annually and results in costs as high as $34 billion.

In June, The Joint Commission issued a prepublication version of eight new antimicrobial stewardship performance standards for hospitals, critical access hospitals and nursing care centers.1 Expanding upon its existing 15 standards that “relate to” antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs), the additional requirements go into effect January 1, 2017 and include:

  • Leadership-driven antimicrobial stewardship as an organizational priority
  • Education of staff members and licensed independent practitioners
  • Education of patients and families as needed regarding appropriate use of antimicrobial medications
  • Establishment of an antimicrobial stewardship multidisciplinary team that includes an infectious disease physician, infection preventionist(s), pharmacists and other practitioners
  • Program design that encompasses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s seven core elements of ASPs in hospitals or nursing homes
  • Use of organization-approved multidisciplinary protocols in the program
  • Data collection, analysis and reporting related to the program
  • Evidence of action taken on the opportunities for improvement identified through the program

The Joint Commission participated in the 2015 White House Forum on Antimicrobial Stewardship following a 2014 Executive Order by President Obama to combat the epidemic. These new performance standards are designed to ensure that healthcare organizations not only have antimicrobial processes in place but also a formal, accountable ASP backed by the right resources and competencies.

Amid a noisy regulatory front with many competing priorities, health system executives often the lack the resources and expertise needed to implement a high-performing ASP. In truth, ASPs powered by a holistic strategy that includes advanced technological infrastructures working in tandem with effective workflow governance present notable opportunities on both a patient safety and cost savings front.

For instance, hospitals and health systems leveraging the advanced clinical surveillance infrastructure of Sentri7®, are realizing significant return on investment—reducing antibiotic costs by as much 35% per patient day and driving more than a 50% reduction in some healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Clinical surveillance solutions provide the real-time aggregation of patient data needed to automate tracking, identification and reporting of potential antimicrobial issues. The resulting data-driven workflows provide the needed foundation for proactive response to antimicrobial issues.

In addition to Sentri7’s advanced infrastructure, OneSource Clinical Services extend the value of clinical surveillance by equipping healthcare organizations with gap analysis and program development insights needed for the institution to achieve the CDC core elements of an effective ASP and move from infancy to high-performing initiatives.

A dynamic, multidisciplinary clinical team guides hospitals and health systems to optimize clinical design by providing actionable guidance and ensuring ongoing program improvement. Initial evaluations measure:

  • Current antimicrobial stewardshipclinical practices
  • Staffing resources and competencies
  • Relevant policies and protocols
  • IT/Technology needs as it relates to antimicrobial stewardship
  • Executive ownership

Contact us today to learn more about how the Sentri7 clinical surveillance solution and OneSource Clinical Services are uniquely designed to optimize antimicrobial usage and power high-performing ASPs.



  1. Prepublication Standards – New Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard. 22 June 2016.


Clinical surveillance for antimicrobial stewardship. Download guide.

Learn More About Our Products & Solutions