At antibiotic stewardship forum, White House lauds hospitals' superbug plans

The White House convened more than 150 stakeholders--including major healthcare providers, retailers, pharmaceutical companies, food companies and farmers--in a federal forum Tuesday to detail what they're doing to fight antibiotic resistance.

The White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship comes on the heels of the World Health Organization's new global plan for antibiotic resistance, as well as the White House's own plan to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which it released in March.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the top infectious disease threats facing the U.S. today, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, M.D. "If we lose antibiotics, the medicine chest will be empty and it will not only undermine our ability to treat routine infections, but it will undermine much of modern medicine," Frieden said on a conference call with reporters, as reported by Reuters. "We risk turning back the clock to a world where simple infections can be fatal just as they were a century ago."

The White House fact sheet highlights antibiotic stewardship efforts by several major players in the healthcare industry, including:

  • Kaiser Permanente, which will create electronic alerts to guide microbial prescription practices at all of its Kaiser Medical Centers
  • Ascension Health, which plans to implement antimicrobial stewardship programs at all of its facilities, submit all data on antibiotic use and resistance to the CDC and regularly evaluate test results on isolated bacteria's sensitivity to various antibiotics
  • Intermountain Healthcare, which has set a goal to cut inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use for upper respiratory conditions in half by 2020
  • Hospital Corporation of America, which is developing clinical decision support and antibiogram monitoring that will help it respond to lab results as soon as possible and strengthen identification and reporting efforts on a national scale

Groups outside the healthcare sector that participated in the forum similarly endorsed these efforts. For example, consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports this week announced its support for improved testing and requiring providers to report both antibiotic use and antibiotic-resistant infections, as well as a new joint effort with seven healthcare providers to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. This collaboration will be funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant for the Choosing Wisely initiative.

To learn more:
- here's the White House fact sheet
- read the Reuters article
- check out the Consumer Reports announcement