How much does duplicative antibiotic prescribing cost U.S. hospitals?

The widespread use of unnecessary and duplicative antibiotics in U.S. hospitals could have led to hugely excess costs, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

The research was conducted by CDC and Premier, a performance improvement company. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of inpatient pharmacy data from more than 500 U.S. hospitals. The analysis showed that 78 percent of hospitals had evidence of potentially unnecessary antibiotic combinations being administered for two or more days, with a total of 32,507 cases of redundant antibiotics treatment.

The study found that these cases represented 148,589 days of potentially inappropriate antibiotic therapy, resulting in nearly $13 million in potentially avoidable healthcare costs from antimicrobial drugs. If these cases were representative of all U.S. hospitals over the same time period, an estimated $163 million could have been saved through appropriate prescribing.

"Improving the way antibiotics are prescribed not only helps reduce rates of Clostridium difficile infection and antibiotic resistance, but can also improve individual patient outcomes, all while reducing healthcare costs," said Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC and a study author.

More articles on quality:

Top 10 infection control stories, September 1-5
Antibiotic stewardship programs reduce hospital costs, improve outcomes
Children's HAI rates plummet

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