St. Anthony Regional Hospital staff has completed a yearlong study program in 2018 sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to learn more about how to improve the use of antibiotics for patients. To implement the measures learned in this program, an “Antibiotic Stewardship Team” was formed at St. Anthony.
Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause bacteria or other microbes to evolve which can make antibiotics ineffective. This is called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. Treating these resistant bacteria requires higher doses of medicine or stronger antibiotics. Because of antibiotic overuse, certain bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available today.
The Antibiotic Stewardship Team has developed and implemented research-based guidelines designed to improve the use of antibiotics across acute care, long-term care, and ambulatory care at St. Anthony that will benefit patients.
“Antibiotics are a precious resource and can be critical for improving the outcomes of patients with serious infections,” said Jedd Hagen, M.D., of West Central Pathology at St. Anthony. “Antibiotics need to be available and effective for future generations, and that is only possible if antibiotics are prescribed carefully.”
It has been noted that antibiotic overuse is a key driver of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. We rely on antibiotics to treat serious infections, such as pneumonia, and life-threatening conditions, including sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection. Effective antibiotics are also needed for people who are at high risk for developing infections. Some of those at high risk for infections include patients undergoing surgery or patients receiving chemotherapy.
The Antibiotic Stewardship Team’s goal is to promote safe and appropriate antibiotic use, enhance teamwork and communication around diagnosis and treatment of infections, and antibiotic prescribing, and ultimately, patient safety. The team collaborated with St. Anthony Hospital medical providers to monitor, among many things, days of antibiotic use on a daily basis, trends regarding high alert antibiotics, and standing order sets. The team also watches for trends in antibiotic resistant organisms and develops plans for treatment.