A new Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard for United States hospitals, critical access hospitals and long-term care facilities has come into force on January 1st, 2017. The Joint Commission’s new Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard mandates all institutions to establish an antimicrobial stewardship program, if they have not already done so.
The standard comes at a critical point: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year in the US, at least 2 million people become infected with resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 patients die each year as a direct result of these infections. Meanwhile, the rate of development of new antibiotics is failing to keep up with the emergence of resistance. Antimicrobial stewardship programs can help address this problem by guiding clinicians to use the most appropriate antibiotic for a patient’s infection, thereby preventing the use of advanced antibiotics when older ones will work fine. Stewardship programs can also intervene with the misuse of antibiotics – CDC has identified that 20%–50% of all antibiotics prescribed in US acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate.
The new standard is the result of the Joint Commission’s participation in the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, held in June, 2015, and ongoing collaborations with the CDC. At the Forum, the Joint Commission joined representatives from more than 150 major health care organisations, food companies, retailers, and animal health organisations to express commitment for implementing changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, detect resistant strains, preserve the efficacy of existing antibiotics, and prevent the spread of resistant infections.
1. The Joint Commission’s New Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/New_Antimicrobial_Stewardship_Standard.pdf
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/healthcare/implementation/core-elements.html
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