Alexian Brothers Health System Saves More Than $1 Million, Improves Safety with Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

Illinois health system uses pharmaceutical resources more appropriately with Premier healthcare alliance support

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Alexian Brothers Health System of Arlington Heights, Ill., has saved more than $1 million and improved the quality of care system-wide through an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) developed in conjunction with the Premier healthcare alliance.

Diana Woytko, vice president of patient safety and quality at Alexian Brothers Health System, said “We chose Premier because we were familiar with them from an earlier engagement and confident they would bring the right data, the most up-to-date research and other hospital protocols to the table.”

In early 2010 Alexian Brothers Health System decided to develop an ASP as the result of a Premier pharmacy resource assessment that found a high use of antimicrobials. Two of the system’s acute care hospitals and its behavioral health facility are included in the program, as well as Premier’s pharmacy consulting team to expedite development and implementation.

Reductions in antimicrobial expenditures through more effective resource utilization have helped Alexian Brothers Health System save $1,073,206 to date, while increasing patient safety.

The ASP’s primary goal is to optimize clinical outcomes so that unintended consequences of antimicrobial use are minimized, such as toxicity, selection of pathogenic organisms and emergence of resistance. Another goal is the most effective and efficient use of resources without adversely impacting the quality of patient care.

Alexian Brothers Health System uses Premier’s QualityAdvisor™ and SafetySurveillor® tools to track and compare clinical outcomes data. QualityAdvisor data found that one hospital was overusing daptomycin, an expensive antimicrobial, compared to the drug used by top hospital performers. By standardizing to vancomycin, a less expensive but still effective resource, the system was able to save with no compromise to patient care. For timely intervention, the medical-surgical hospitals use SafetySurveillor’s real-time data to flag targeted antibiotics or conditions.

A multidisciplinary physician-staff committee also joined the ASP in September 2010. “We’ve had excellent buy-in from the medical staff," said Woytko. Their initiatives include:

  • Altering of Staphylococcus aureus minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) testing for vancomycin for a more accurate picture of MIC levels against Staphylococcus aureus;
  • Standardizing IV to PO conversion protocols and renal dosing protocols for improved dosing standardization;
  • Standardizing drug utilization evaluation criteria development and application;
  • Standardizing antibiotic interventions – “right drug, right dose, right time, right duration” – to reduce bug-drug mismatches, decrease inappropriate double coverage, promote timely discontinuation and IV to PO conversion, and enhance de-escalation of therapy; and
  • Implementing extended infusion piperacillin/tazobactam dosing to improve patient outcomes while decreasing facility costs.

Premier’s team also helped Alexian Brothers Health System recruit an infectious disease pharmacist. Woytko continued, “Premier has been especially effective interviewing candidates. The project has worked out nicely.” The new pharmacist, with specific training around infectious disease pharmacotherapy, recently began her work with the health system. Premier’s team is now helping to transition project management to the Alexian Brothers Health System team full-time.

To further improve care quality, Premier recently helped Alexian Brothers Health System save $1 million by purchasing renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive impact on public health. Additionally, the health system is part of the Illinois Purchasing Collaborative, a program of the Illinois Hospital Association that saved more than $10 million with Premier over four years. They were also among 14 organizations that won a 2011 Premier Supply Chain Innovation Award in July.

About Alexian Brothers Health System

Alexian Brothers Health System, a diversified Catholic healthcare system in Arlington Heights, Ill., includes Alexian Brothers Medical Center, St. Alexius Medical Center, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital and Alexian Rehabilitation Hospital and serves nearly 2 million Chicago northwest suburban residents.

About the Premier healthcare alliance, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals and 75,000-plus other healthcare sites using the power of collaboration to lead the transformation to high quality, cost-effective care. Owned by hospitals, health systems and other providers, Premier maintains the nation's most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier has worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has an office in Washington. Stay connected with Premier on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Premier healthcare alliance
Alven Weil, 704-816-5797
[email protected]

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