Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tracking Hospital Antibiotic Use

CDC is launching a new antibiotic tracking system to allow hospitals to monitor antibiotic use electronically. The agency wants to help hospitals make better decisions to improve their use of antibiotics and to enable hospitals to compare themselves to other hospitals. Before now, CDC was only able to track antibiotic use in doctor’s offices.

The antibiotic use tracking system is part of CDC’s “National Healthcare Safety Network” (NHSN), in place to monitor infections in healthcare facilities that includes 4,800 hospitals. CDC has funded four health departments and their academic partners and implemented the tracking system in 70 hospitals.

Any hospital that participates in the NHSN can use the tool to work directly with their pharmacy software vendor so data can be transmitted electronically from drug administration or from bar code records. There is no manual entry of data, thus saving a facility time and money.

CDC is implementing “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week” November 14 to 20, 2011. CDC and partners are teaming up to promote appropriate antibiotic use among the nation’s healthcare facilities and doctors offices to preserve the strength of existing antibiotics and to prevent resistant infections.

“The threat of untreatable infections is real,” reports Arjun Srinivasan, M.D. in charge of CDC’s Get Smart for Healthcare program. “Although previously unthinkable, the day when antibiotics don’t work in all situations is upon us. We are already seeing germs that are stronger than any antibiotics we have to treat them, including some infections in healthcare settings.”

In conjunction with the Get Smart campaign, CDC is working with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to pilot test a tool to help hospitals implement practical strategies to improve antibiotic use. The pilot testing is currently under way in eight U.S. hospitals.

Additionally, CDC is part of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance. During the Get Smart campaign, the task force will meet in Washington D.C. to discuss the issues related to antibiotics.

To access a list of pharmacy software vendors who are working with CDCs new tracking system go to the Society for Infectious Disease Pharmacists website at