VA leads the way in antibiotic stewardship efforts: 5 things to know

A new Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America study shows antibiotic stewardship practices are widely implemented at Veterans Administration-affiliated facilities

"The VA has been a national leader in the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs," said co-lead study author Christopher Graber, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

According to Dr. Graber, the study "highlights how even though [antimicrobial stewardship programs] just started to emerge as an evidence-based strategy to combat antibiotic resistance, many VA facilities had coordinated stewardship activities as well as staffing patterns that promoted appropriate antibiotic use."

Here are five findings from the study.

1. Only 22 percent of facilities had a formal policy establishing an antimicrobial stewardship program in 2012, when the study was conducted, but almost half (42 percent) of VA facilities had a program in development.

2. Thirty-eight percent of VA facilities reported having a multidisciplinary antibiotic stewardship team, including at least one physician and one clinical pharmacist.

3. A majority (80 percent) of facilities had at least one infectious disease specialist on staff in 2012, a position associated with decreased antibiotic use.

4. Clinical pharmacists with infectious disease training as part of the antibiotic stewardship team were also associated with a 10 percent decrease in antibiotic use.

5. Formal antimicrobial stewardship programs varied across the VA system, but nearly all facilities had at least some stewardship activities, including using antibiograms or guidelines for staff on effective antibiotic treatments (94 percent), formulary restrictions (92 percent) and restrictions on antibiotic duration (75 percent).



More articles on anitbiotic stewardship:
What can hospitals do to take a stand against antibiotic resistance? Inside the University of Chicago Medical Center's stewardship program
More than 80 drugmakers, stakeholders demand worldwide government action on antibiotic resistance
10 recent stories, studies on antibiotics and drug resistance

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