The Centers for Disease Control report an estimated 23,000 deaths annually resulting from antibiotic-resistant organisms (which infect over two million people). Stewardship programs aim to improve patient care by prescribing only necessary medication; patient safety by optimizing infection treatment; and reducing superbugs.
For several years now, the Joint Commission has been rolling out antimicrobial stewardship programs in various medical settings from hospitals to nursing facilities. Now, ambulatory care centers are the latest to receive antimicrobial stewardship program requirements from the Joint Commission.
A recent Commission report outlines the five requirements that outpatient facilities are now required to meet:
- Designate a leader who will be responsible for developing and monitor antibiotic prescription practices.
- Establish an annual goal for antimicrobial stewardship.
- Implement guidelines to achieve the goal that are evidence-based.
- Train your staff and provide them with resources related to achieving stewardship goal.
- Collect, analyze and report goal-related data.
The new standards will go into effect January 1st. With 2019 already halfway through, it’s critical to start implementing these standards immediately.
Tips for Implementing Antimicrobial Stewardship in Ambulatory Care
January 1st will be here before you know it. How can you be prepared?
- Analyze antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 per year and evaluate appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions. Are you over-prescribing? Are you prescribing the right antibiotic but for a longer length of time than is necessary? Are you prescribing the correct antibiotics and the correct dosage?
- Consult your guidelines. What guidelines are you using in prescribing antimicrobials? Are your prescribing practices aligned with them? Check to see that your antibiotic orders are match your center’s guidelines. Use this data to set your yearly goal, beginning with the one most out of alignment.
- Choose a physician interested in the subject. Ideally this person will also be influential. Other factors to consider: the size of the group and their level of engagement. Meeting goals will require staff responsive to change and a leader who can get results.
But the most important thing is to start now! The requirements go into effect January 1st. That gives you only five months to appoint your leader, develop a plan, train your staff and be ready to start tackling your 2020 goal.
Need help? Click here to read more about antimicrobial stewardship.