The “bad bugs” have dramatically changed since I was a staff microbiologist reading my daily cultures. Back then, the hot topics of discussion at our local APIC chapter involved mainly clusters associated with the usual suspects, MRSA and VRE.
Fast forward twenty-five years later and the microbiological landscape has radically evolved into a highly specialized science requiring much needed reinforcements for the healthcare stewards that are tasked with preventing infections involving multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs). Antimicrobial resistance has increased throughout all scopes of patient care and contributes to significant morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs.
On September 18, President Obama signed an executive order to support the fight against antibiotic resistance. This major policy initiative is a critical first step in the efforts to combine research, resources and surveillance from both domestic and international organizations. Included in the executive order is a request for engagement from academia, industry, healthcare, government, agriculture and general public to collaborate on strategies to minimize this growing threat to national health and security.
This “all hands on deck” philosophy is needed to successfully stunt the spread of these deadly infections and preserve the effective drugs currently available. A coordinated approach will support surveillance of resistant pathogens; enhance dissemination of information; advance research and development of newer antibiotic agents, vaccines, and diagnostic testing; and improve capabilities for national and international infection prevention and control.
One of the highlighted anticipated action steps includes proposed regulations (by end of 2016) requiring inpatient healthcare facilities to have a robust antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) program in place (and is also strongly encouraged for ambulatory healthcare facilities). Healthcare organizations, if not already in process, would be wise to begin working toward implementing an AMS program in their facility. This stepping stone will not only improve the local resistance landscape, but will contribute to the national efforts in the forefront.
About the Author
Debra Hagberg, MT (ASCP), CIC is an Infection Prevention Clinical Program Manager for Sentri7.
Debra has more than 25 years of hospital/clinic infection control, consulting and sales experience. She has 10 years of clinical microbiology experience and 15 years of infection prevention experience in the hospital and clinic environment before she served as a clinical sales specialist and clinical liaison in the infection prevention product manufacturing industry. She also has experience on the business side of electronic infection surveillance technology supporting sales in this industry for several years.
Debra earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology degree from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and she is a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). She is certified in infection control and epidemiology (CBIC) and has maintained this certification for twenty years.