The program will be a part of the agency's already established National Healthcare Safety Network, a healthcare-associated infection tracking system that allows more than 12,000 participating facilities to receive information on infection problem areas and measures to prevent their spread.
“This index will help benchmark antibiotic use across healthcare facilities for the first time, allowing facilities to compare their data with similar facilities,” Frieden wrote in a blog post featured June 24 in the healthcare industry website Health Care Blog.
The AUR will be able to provide real-time data on facility-specific antibiotic use as well as give information on resistance trends going on throughout a particular region. Network healthcare providers, which include acute-care hospitals as well as long-term-care and nursing home facilities, will be able to electronically share antibiotic resistance information from testing laboratories and antibiotic prescribing data from regional health providers.
The CDC expects to fund the program with a proposed $14 million increase included in its 2015 budget request made to Congress.
Health officials have been warning for years that the overuse of antibiotics by many providers coupled with a dearth of the development of new antibiotics has resulted in a rise in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant infections, some of which, as in the case of gram negative bacteria, have proven to be resistant to most if not all currently available medications.
The CDC estimates there are about 2 million cases of antimicrobial resistant infections that occur in the U.S. each year, which result in about 23,000 deaths. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has estimated treatment of these types of infections cost the U.S health system between $21 billion and $34 billion annually.
Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHsjohnson