A little more than one-third of acute care hospitals in the U.S. adhere to best practices to promote appropriate use of antibiotics, according to a new report.
An analysis of more than 4,100 U.S. acute-care hospitals recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that 39% had an antibiotics stewardship program that met all seven of the core elements recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC recommends hospitals should dedicate appropriate resources, appoint a single leader to run a program, and appoint a pharmacy leader who can focus on improving antibiotic use.
Also, successfully run stewardship programs should closely monitor prescribing patterns and regularly report on antibiotic use and the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant infections to clinical staff. Hospitals should also educate staff on resistance and good prescribing practices.
Among the hospitals that met all seven elements, 59% were facilities with more than 200 inpatient beds; 25% were hospitals with fewer than 50 beds.
Results of the study were used to develop a guide, Antibiotic Stewardship in Acute Care: A Practical Playbook, released Wednesday by the National Quality Forum that is designed to help hospitals improve their existing stewardship programs or create them.
“We know that patients need antibiotics, and we want them to get antibiotics every time they need them. But we want them to get them only when they need them,” said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director of healthcare-associated infection prevention programs at the CDC, during a call with reporters on Wednesday.
The playbook focuses on strategies that involve a team-based approach toward assessing whether a patient's condition warrants the use of antibiotics.
A CDC study published in JAMA this month found 1 in 3 prescriptions was considered unnecessary for the conditions being treated.
Such overuse has been responsible for a rise in the number of cases of antimicrobial “superbug” infections. The CDC estimates as many as 2 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, resulting in 23,000 deaths.