JUCM, the Urgent Care Association, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, and countless state and local health agencies have been beating the “antibiotic stewardship” drum for quite some time now, as data continue to show the high prevalence of drug-resistant organisms (and the equally high cost, in terms of resultant hospitalizations and deaths). New data from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) show awareness and stewardship interventions can be effective in curbing inappropriate use of antibiotics in both the emergency room and the urgent care center. The SAEM study found that antibiotic stewardship interventions for acute respiratory infection (ARI) can significantly reduce overuse in the ED and urgent care center by as much as one third. The first effort to evaluate the Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study showed that the very act of focusing on (and drawing attention to) validated prescribing guidelines was enough to get prescribers to think twice about prescribing an antibiotic that might not be indicated in ARIs. The SAEM study looked at the effectiveness of institutional educational campaigns supplemented by peer comparison. While the results were not statistically significant, the researchers concluded that the progress that was made in the study population shows the viability of the methods and should encourage more widespread promotion of the CDC standards. The research was published in the July issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.
Stewardship Efforts Really Do Lower Overuse of Antibiotics—and That Can Save Lives