Pharmacy OneSource Blog

Taking Hold of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Opportunity: How Impactful are your Strategies?

Posted on 11/09/16

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It’s true that the current National Action Plan for Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance is prompting regulatory action and increasing expectations around antimicrobial stewardship. While these movements are capturing the attention of the hospital C-suite, the business case for investing in high-performing antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) is already an easy one to make, irrespective of the active regulatory climate.

Health systems executives are increasingly challenged to optimize care delivery while simultaneously cutting costs and improving the bottom line. Since less-than-optimal prescribing practices and medication spend have significant impact on outcomes and cost performance in any health system, ASPs bring inherent value to the table.

Consider, for example, that between 20% and 50% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate, and the opportunity that an impactful ASP presents becomes clearer.

For this reason, forward-thinking health systems are maturing existing antimicrobial processes by designing and implementing formal ASPs based on industry best practices. The best strategies combine a two-pronged approach that engages process governance and technology-enabled workflows to proactively manage antimicrobial issues. Programs built on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s core elements of an effective ASP and surveillance technology—the infrastructure endorsed by the Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Conditions of Participation—are delivering notable return on investment (ROI).

For instance, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas leveraged Sentri7® within an advanced ASP built on industry best practices and decreased broad-spectrum antimicrobial use by 15%, representing a cost savings of $1,621,730 in one year.

The majority of today’s hospitals likely have some antimicrobial processes in place such as monitoring to support intravenous (IV) to oral (PO) conversion and dose optimization. Beyond some of these basic oversight initiatives, many clinical leaders lack the resources and expertise to identify the right framework and specific initiatives needed to take programs from infancy to maturity.

That’s why many turn to the expertise of a third-party such as OneSource Clinical Services to provide the consulting and change management insights needed to create sustainable, impactful ASPs. Healthcare organizations across the United States are jump-starting a better strategy by leveraging our gap analysis survey to identify where antimicrobial stewardship strategies fall short and what initiatives will deliver the greatest ROI. Then, by partnering with our in-house professional team comprised of 130 physicians, nurses, infection preventionists and pharmacists and external network of 6,000 of the world's top medical specialists, healthcare organizations are able to build ASPs that typically result in:

  • 15% reduction in HAIs, 56% reduction in C. Diff and 49% reduction in CAUTI
  • 35% decrease in antibiotic costs per patient day
  • 54-750% increase in the number of clinical interventions to improve appropriate use of antimicrobials

Antibiotic resistance in the U.S. costs an estimated $34 billion a year in excess health care costs and more than eight million additional hospital days. The opportunity to improve this outlook is significant in terms of both patient outcomes and costs. Contact us today to learn more about how to implement a high-performing ASP.

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Topics: Antimicrobial Stewardship

About the Author

Deb Oroszlan is the Marketing Director for Pharmacy OneSource - Wolters Kluwer.