Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Members of the Memorial Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Committee, Angela Mohring, Infection Control Nurse and Kathy Winkler, Pharmacist, attended the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Illinois Summit on Antimicrobial Stewardship in Chicago, IL on July 18th. During the event, those in attendance learned how to apply national guidelines to programs and the best practices for implementing and evaluating facility antimicrobial stewardship programs. Past successful antimicrobial stewardship programs, and the lessons learned, were reviewed and tools and resources for implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs were provided.
Antibiotic stewardship is the coordination of strategies to improve the use of antimicrobial medications with the goal of enhancing patient health outcomes, reducing resistance to antibiotics, and decreasing unnecessary costs. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “Antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine, making once lethal infections readily treatable and making other medical advances, like cancer chemotherapy and organ transplants, possible.” However, the CDC reports that 20-50% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are unnecessary or inappropriate. The overprescribing of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which can lead to serious health threats. In 2013 a CDC study, estimated that two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms, resulting in approximately 23,000 deaths annually.
At Memorial, physicians, providers, pharmacists, infection control, and administration make up the Antibiotic Stewardship committee. The committee works together to implement regulations and practices, recommended by IDPH, into the hospital’s existing Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. Memorial’s program includes provider education on prescribing the correct antibiotics for the correct infections and patient education on why they may not be prescribed an antibiotic for symptoms such as a fever or earache. Memorial’s Antibiotic Stewardship committee makes it there priority to ensure that the best possible care is provided to the patients. Through continued education, adaptation, and implementation of new, successful practices Memorial is working to provide the safest and most effective care possible.