Nearly 50 million antibiotic prescriptions distributed nationwide each year in doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other medical facilities are unnecessary or are often prescribed incorrectly, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although antibiotics can save lives, their misuse and overuse can lead to side effects and antibiotic resistance.
Since 2008, Augusta University Health has made reviewing antibiotic use a priority and, with the launch of the AU Health Antimicrobial Stewardship program, AU Health has seen an improvement in infection-related outcomes in their patients.
AU Health’s work in antimicrobial stewardship earned the facility gold status membership on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s 2019 Honor Roll for Antibiotic Stewardship. The statewide recognition is a nod to AU Health’s comprehensive antimicrobial stewardship program as well as meeting the Joint Commission’s antimicrobial stewardship accreditation standards.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition from the Georgia Department of Public Health,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases and chief of Antimicrobial Stewardship services at AU Health. “We are committed to fighting antimicrobial resistance so we may improve patient care and continue providing high-quality treatments.”
AU Health Pharmacist Dr. Sonal Patel works with Vazquez in leading the hospital’s antimicrobial stewardship efforts and conducts in-service training for physicians, residents and nurses to ensure they are prescribing the correct antimicrobial.
“AU Health is dedicated to providing the best patient care, and part of that work is improving patient outcomes by lowering their chances of developing an infection due to multidrug-resistant bacteria,” said Patel. “Our pharmacists are in constant communication with our physicians, microbiology members in the Division of Infectious Diseases as well as the antimicrobial stewardship team to discuss the best antimicrobial treatment for our patients before it is prescribed to them.
“This collaborative step improves infection-related outcomes in patients by lowering their chances of developing a resistant infection, reduces their length of hospital stay, while at the same time averting any side effects and toxicities that arise from antimicrobial use.”
In recognition of U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week from Nov. 18-24, the AU Health Antimicrobial Stewardship program will have information tables located at the D elevators in Augusta University Medical Center and guests are welcome to take part in games and activities.
Learn more about the CDC’s smart use of antibiotics.