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March 2014
Top Stories
CDC Reports Wide Variation in Prescribing Practices
Calls on Hospitals to Institute Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

A new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that doctors’ antimicrobial prescribing habits for hospital patients vary widely, a signal that improvement is needed. Specifically, CDC calls on hospitals to establish antibiotic stewardship programs, which IDSA believes should be mandatory and led by physicians.  

In addition to citing prescribing variations, the CDC report found that one-third of prescriptions for both the common and critical drug vancomycin and for urinary tract infections in hospital patients contained at least one potential error. Patients either weren’t properly evaluated or tested, or the drugs were given for too long. Fortunately, results also show that a 30 percent reduction in the use of antibiotics that most commonly cause C. difficile infection can reduce these deadly infections by more than 25 percent.

To improve prescribing practices and reduce patient harm, the report stated that every hospital should have an antibiotic stewardship program with seven core elements: leadership commitment, clear accountability, drug expertise, prescribing improvement action, tracking, reporting/feedback, and clinician education. CDC released new tools to assist inpatient facilities with implementing these key stewardship activities.

Also see this month’s President’s Message.

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