One of healthcare’s biggest concerns has been the misuse of antibiotics and resulting rise in drug-resistant bacteria and infections. About 2 million people contract an antibiotic-resistant infection each year, with 23,000 dying as a result, according to a CDC report.
One new strain of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is able to share its antibiotic resistance with other bacteria. Efforts are being made to develop new antibiotics, but creating them is both difficult and expensive.
In response, the CDC has a list of seven core elements that all healthcare facilities should use when constructing an antimicrobial stewardship program:
• Leadership Commitment - Dedicating necessary human, financial, and information technology resources
• Accountability - Appointing a single leader responsible for program outcomes. Experience with successful programs shows that a physician leader is effective
• Drug Expertise - Appointing a single pharmacist leader responsible for working to improve antibiotic use
• Action - Implementing at least one recommended action, such as systemic evaluation of ongoing treatment need after a set period of initial treatment (e.g., an "antibiotic timeout" after 48 hours)
• Tracking - Monitoring antibiotic prescribing and resistance patterns
• Reporting - Regular reporting information on antibiotic use and resistance to doctors, nurses, and relevant staff
• Education - Educating clinicians about resistance and optimal prescribing
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