Antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine, helping once lethal infections become now readily treatable. The use of antibiotic to treat infections has been shown to save lives.
However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 20-50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in health care has contributed to the development of bacterial drug resistance and diminished the effectiveness of currently-used antibiotics, which has caused threats to public health.
Patients who are unnecessarily exposed to antibiotics are placed at risk for clostridium difficile infection and adverse drug reactions. The CDC estimates that drug resistance bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Due to the emergence of antibiotic resistance, treating bacterial infections has become progressively more restricted, costly, and can result in no available antibiotic options.
Prevent antibiotic resistance, but how?
Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Improving the use of antibiotics is an important patient safety and public health issue.
Therefore, awareness regarding antibiotic resistance among healthcare facility, provider and patient is essential to address the unrelenting drug-resistant threat to public health. As a team, all health care providers, healthcare facility administrators and patients need to be aware of a growing problem of bacterial drug resistance.
Everyone should play an important role as good antimicrobial stewards. Here are ways that can help to prevent antibiotic resistance:
What is the healthcare facility administrator’s role?
Hospital/facility administrators can join hands to adopt an antibiotic stewardship program to protect patients and preserve the power of antibiotics.
Facility administrators can track and monitor the prescribing and antibiotic resistance patterns by collaborating with other healthcare facilities, interdisciplinary teams with members such as the pharmacist and provider and IT resources. Administrators can follow that first step with regular reporting to staff prescribing and resistance patterns and reinforcing the importance of patient education on antibiotics and its possible resistance.
What is the healthcare provider’s role?
Healthcare providers are responsible to correctly prescribe antibiotics. Healthcare providers should get cultures, if appropriate, and start the correct drug promptly at the right dosage for the right duration. They will need to reassess the prescription within 48 hours based on tests and a patient exam. Healthcare providers should be aware of antibiotic resistance patterns in the community and participate to improve prescribing practices. Furthermore, following…