Monday, November 14, 2016

Virginia health care organizations collaborate to address proper use of antibiotics

vhha-antibiotics2Antibiotic resistance is a challenge for health care providers and patients. It is estimated that at least two million Americans each year become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, leading to 23,000 deaths. When antibiotics lose effectiveness in treating infections, the public faces a risk of having fewer treatment options for serious illnesses. Proper use of the correct antibiotic, when needed, is an important way to slow the development of antibiotic-resistant infections.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) hosted representatives from four leading health care organizations  – the Virginia Department of Health, Medical Society of Virginia, Health Quality Innovators, and Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association –held a news conference about proper antibiotic prescribing and the safe use of these medications by patients. These efforts coincide with the national “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week” (Nov. 14-20, 2016) sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Hughes Melton, Chief Deputy Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Health defined antibiotic stewardship as “the right antibiotic the right way.” Antibiotic resistance has been an issue for over 70 years he said.

Quoting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Melton said, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats.” Because of the increased resistance to antibiotics the initiative has been made one of 14 major goals that are part of the plan he said.

Three main goals:

  • Education of providers and patients for best antibiotic selection
  • Collaboration of stake holders as represented here
  • Collection of data regarding infections and antibiotic resistance

Dr. Samuel Bartle, VCU Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Medical Society of Virginia instructed patients who are prescribed antibiotics to:

  • Take the antibiotic as described
  • Take the full course until you have completed it
  • Don’t save antibiotics for later use
  • Only take when prescribed
  • Flu and even some ear infections do not require antibiotics
  • If you miss a dose contact your physician for instructions

vhha-antibioticsSheila McLean, MBA, CPHQ, Program Director with Health Quality Innovators (formerly VHQC) spoke on helping nursing home providers with policy and process changes – data reporting for infections and preventing and improving infection practices which includes antibiotic stewardship.

Dr. J. Thomas Ryan, Senior Medical Advisor with the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) said antibiotics are a powerful tool when used properly – “the right diagnosis, the right dose for the right duration.”

“Everyone has a partial bottle of antibiotics stashed somewhere,” he said. “There are certain antibiotics for certain needs. Taking antibiotics for a different need or not needed at all endangers a patient to becoming resistant to the antibiotic that is eventually is possibly needed for a certain bacterial infection like pneumonia.”

“We are no longer practicing in a cottage industry,” said Dr. Ryan. Collaboration and commitment to infection and readmission reduction requires all organizations to work together he said.

Once antibiotics are not effective in treating infections, we are at risk of having no treatment for serious illnesses. The key to slowing the development of antibiotic-resistant infections is using the right antibiotics in the right way and only when needed.

VDH, MSV, HQI, and VHHA have planned a Feb. 1, 2017 event in downtown Richmond focused on due diligence efforts health care providers can undertake to support antibiotic stewardship program success, and to highlight successful work by hospitals on that front.

That event precedes VHHA’s sixth annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit (Feb. 2-3, 2017) in downtown Richmond. The two-day summit focuses on enhanced patient safety, reduced risk of error, and improved effectiveness in health care delivery. This year’s theme is “The Human Factor: Optimizing Safety for Patients and Providers.” Visit this link to learn more information or to register.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Education

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