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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Save the drugs! CDC issues call to action on antibiotic stewardship

Antibiotic stewardship is rapidly emerging as priority one in infection prevention and control to stave off the relentless rise of multidrug resistant bacteria.

A new CDC Vital Signs report reveals that doctors’ prescribing habits for hospital patients vary widely, a signal that improvement is needed. In addition, the report found that one-third of prescriptions for both the common and critical drug vancomycin and for urinary tract infections in hospital patients contained at least one potential error.

Patients either weren’t properly evaluated or tested, or the drugs were given for too long. Fortunately, results also show that a 30% reduction in the use of antibiotics that most commonly cause C. difficile infection can reduce these deadly infections by more than 25%.
To improve prescribing practices and reduce patient harm, every hospital should have an antibiotic stewardship program with 7 core elements: leadership commitment, clear accountability, drug expertise, prescribing improvement action, tracking, reporting/feedback, and clinician education. CDC released new tools to assist inpatient facilities with implementing these key stewardship activities.
For more on this story see the April 2014 issue of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention