Health Care Team Members Key for Antimicrobial Stewardship

Epidemiologists, preventionists help stop infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms

THURSDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) that use health care epidemiologists (HEs) and infection preventionists (IPs) have a crucial role to play in the effort to combat health care-associated infections (HAIs), including those caused by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America position paper published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Julia Moody, from HCA Inc., in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues discuss the importance of HEs and IPs in effective ASPs.

The authors note that MDROs cause a considerable proportion of serious HAIs and pose a significant patient safety risk. Regulatory and accreditation organizations and legislative bodies must continue to prioritize HAIs, including those caused by MDROs. Integrated, multidisciplinary ASPs, led by a physician and a pharmacist with training in antimicrobial stewardship, are essential for promotion of prudent use of antimicrobials and combating the development of MDROs. ASPs can assist with infection prevention and control programs. IPs and HEs can play a role in the identification of MDROs; surveillance for syndromes of interest and time trends; oversight of precautions aimed at preventing cross-transmission of pathogens; risk assessment and planning of infection prevention; education of clinicians; and implementation of strategies aimed at prevention of infection and correct use of antimicrobial agents.

"Antimicrobial stewardship programs must harness the talents of all members of the health care team to effectively identify the organism, determine its susceptibility, institute any precautions required, and prescribe the narrowest-acting antibiotic that will destroy it," the authors write.

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