Emergency Medicine Physician Contributes to "Playbook" on Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

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Madison, Wisconsin - As antibiotic resistance and “super bugs” become an urgent public-health issue, a University Hospital emergency-medicine physician served as an invited expert in the development of a national “playbook” aimed at improving the appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals.


The “playbook” was released by the National Quality Partners (NQP) Antibiotic Stewardship Action Team, a joint venture between the National Quality Forum (NQF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2014, the CDC defined the core elements of successful antibiotic stewardship programs and recommended that all acute-care hospitals implement one. The “playbook” is designed as a practical guide on implementation of the CDC’s recommendations for hospital stewardship programs. It includes both potential barriers and specific strategies. Dr. Michael Pulia, chair of the American Association of Emergency Medicine’s Antibiotic Stewardship Task Force, was among a team of more than 40 experts who contributed to the “playbook”.


“Data from the CDC show that drug-resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses each year,” said Pulia.  “The action team was tasked with creating a step-by-step guide to assist hospitals in getting stewardship programs into place. Given the low percentage of hospitals in the U.S. that have implemented the CDC’s comprehensive stewardship program recommendations, the ‘playbook’ has the potential to improve antibiotic use on a national scale. Improving antibiotic use in all health care settings is critical to address the real threat posed by bacteria that are increasingly resistant to available antibiotics.”


Pulia said the action team was tasked with giving guidance on each of the CDC’s core elements for antibiotic stewardship programs:  hospital leadership commitment, accountability, drug expertise, action, tracking, reporting and education of clinicians and communities. “The ‘playbook’ covers a wide range of topics because inappropriate use of antibiotics can occur due to both system and provider-level issues.” said Pulia.  “The ‘playbook’ is not a list of ‘must-do’s’,” said Pulia.  “It lays out a variety of options from which to choose depending on local context, resources and needs.”  


Pulia said the “playbook” addresses antibiotics in an acute-care setting.  But improved antibiotic use and efforts like those outlined in the “playbook” are also needed in outpatient and long-term care settings.


University Hospital has its own robust antimicrobial stewardship program.  A team of physicians and pharmacists works to improve patient-care outcomes and safety by scrutinizing the use of antibiotics.

Date Published: 06/02/2016

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