A new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that clinicians in some hospitals prescribe three times as many antibiotics than clinicians in other hospitals, even though patients were receiving care in similar areas of each hospital. In addition, about one-third of the time, prescribing practices to treat urinary tract infections and prescriptions for the critical and common drug vancomycin included a potential error – given without proper testing or evaluation, or given for too long. The report also found that, in hospitals, a 30% reduction in use of the antibiotics that most often cause deadly diarrheal infections with Clostridium difficile can reduce these infections by more than 25%. The same antibiotics also prime patients for future super-resistant infections.
To help hospitals develop antibiotic stewardship programs, CDC released practical tools that include seven key elements, a self-assessment checklist, and an in-depth implementation document.
The Vital Signs report follows several calls to action from CDC on antibiotic resistance including the Antibiotic Resistance Threats to the United States, 2013 report, the Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, and the upcoming coming Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance 2013 report.