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Mon General joins antibiotic stewardship collaborative

Posted Date: 2/1/2016
Bottle of Pills - Mon Gen joins Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative
Mon General Hospital is doing its part to preserve the disease-fighting properties of antibiotic drugs by joining the West Virginia Hospital Association Collaborative on Antibiotic Stewardship.

The goal is to address the over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics, a situation that is causing the drugs to become less and less effective over time.

The collaborative seeks to reduce overall antibiotic usage in hospitals by 10 percent and to reduce the usage of broad spectrum antibiotics by 10 percent.

“We’ve been using antibiotics so much that organisms are becoming resistant to what we have,” said Kathy Miller, Director of the Mon General Hospital Pharmacy. “If we don’t do something, antibiotics won’t work any longer.”

Antibiotics kill bacteria – not viruses. But over the years, antibiotics have been given to patients with viral illnesses like colds, flu and sore throats. In this environment, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have developed with deadly and costly results.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths every year in the United States. Our national healthcare system spends billions of dollars annually to manage drug-resistant infections.

“It’s a very important problem which definitely needs to be addressed,” Miller said. “It is important that we do everything we can to preserve the antibiotics we have for our patients going forward.”

To that end, a multi-disciplinary Antibiotic Stewardship Committee was formed at Mon General to look at ways to reduce antibiotic use at the hospital. The committee is made up of physicians, pharmacists, administration, quality analysts, microbiologists and infection preventionists.

“We now have set protocols in place, written by a collaboration of physicians and pharmacists, to promote appropriate antibiotic use when a patient comes into the health system,” she said.

When a patient is put on antibiotics, typically a broad-spectrum antibiotic is used initially, when it is not known what organism is causing the illness.

“A broad-spectrum antibiotic covers a wide variety of organisms,” Miller said. “It kills both good and bad bacteria. If you can reduce the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, you have a good chance of decreasing resistance to antibiotics,” she said.

Two specific projects are being spearheaded by the Mon General Pharmacy.

“We are reviewing each positive culture and making recommendations to the healthcare team to move from broad-spectrum antibiotics to more targeted antibiotics,” Miller said. “This way the antibiotic just kills what the problem is, instead of everything.”

It takes about 48-72 hours from the time a culture is taken to determine what it is.

“Once you know what the organism is that is causing the problem, you need to move to a targeted antibiotic,” she said. “We are trying to get away from the broad-spectrum antibiotic as quickly as possible.”

The second project is to review the duration of antibiotic therapy and try to shorten it if appropriate. “We want to be effective, but not over use them,” she said. The positive culture project was begun in the spring of 2015. The duration project was implemented in late 2015.

“We have definitely seen an improvement in the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics,” Miller said. The hospital’s physicians have been very supportive.
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