Despite limited resources, hospitals make antibiotic stewardship program headway: 7 survey findings

Although they report budgetary resources and frontline physician involvement to be lacking, 70 percent of respondents to an Advisory Board Company survey say they've added an antibiotic stewardship program in the last five years.

The survey queried 418 hospitals and health systems in fall of 2015. For purposes of the survey, ASPs are defined as coordinated programs through which hospitals work to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. The CDC recommends hospitals implement ASPs to combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

"Hospitals seem to be doing the best they can with the resources they have," Sarah O'Hara, senior consultant for research and insights at The Advisory Board Company, said in a statement. "While there are many interventions that hospitals can use to curb improper antibiotic use, there is no one-size-fits-all model. And the uptick in stewardship shows that hospitals are starting to recognize the need to combat bacterial resistance and deploying efforts that fit their different resources levels, cultures and clinical needs."

Here are seven additional findings from the survey.

• Of the 70 percent of hospitals and health systems who have added programs, 35 percent did so within the past two years.
• Half of respondents said they lack staff resources to identify or implement stewardship interventions.
• While most respondents said they track antibiotic utilization, costs and resistance, 37 percent report not having data to measure the overall impact of their ASPs on patient outcomes.
• Of respondents, 18 percent reported a lack of data collection, either manual or electronic, on how many antibiotics their hospital uses. For smaller hospitals this number increases to 27 percent.
• Nearly 20 percent of respondents had no formal program to reduce antibiotic overuse of misuse.

• Challenges are greater for smaller hospitals: Only 26 percent of those with 300 beds or fewer report having a formal ASP compared to 11 percent for larger hospitals.
• Of institutions that report having formal ASPs, 65 percent do not require prescribing providers or treatment teams to formally review the prescription after diagnostic information becomes available.

More articles on antibiotic resistance:

Antibiotic stewardship program reduces C. diff infections in hospitalized kids
Preventing antibiotic resistance: How 5 health systems are answering the call
5 essential components of a successful antibiotic stewardship program

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