Data analytics improves antibiotic stewardship

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Inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause costs for both patients and the healthcare system to balloon.

Guidelines from federal agencies are raising the bar on antibiotic and antimicrobial stewardship, but there are ways healthcare organizations can take their programs to the next level, including using real-time data.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause costs for both patients and the healthcare system to balloon as patients who are treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics are three times as likely to be infected with a resistant bacteria.

This can lead to an increase in costs of as much as $34 billion a year, so hospital and health system leaders should align antibiotic stewardship programs with the goals of value-based care to ensure success, according to an article from Health System Management.

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Systems that effectively practice antibiotic and antimicrobial stewardship also combine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guides with two additional prongs, according to the article.

First, these systems employ advanced surveillance technology to monitor for potential issues. That level of surveillance, according to the article, allows health organizations to aggregate data in real time on patients that are at risk for potential adverse effects or orders for inappropriate antibiotics.

Those hospitals also use effective workflow governance rules which, according to the article, increase clinical interventions to prevent improper antibiotic prescribing. Some hospitals increased such interventions as much as 750%.

The rise of ‘nightmare’ superbugs has made the push for better antibiotic stewardship even more important. The CDC’s guidelines also emphasize data tracking and call for increased education for both patients and clinicians to better understand the issue.

Other national organizations, including the National Quality Forum, have issued their own recommendations for how hospitals and health systems can reduce unneeded prescriptions and infections.