Guest Author – Neil Fishman, M.D.
Associate Chief Medical Officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System,
Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
I have noticed more conversations at hospitals, in the community, and even among policy makers about the importance of preserving our antibiotic supply in the setting of rapidly emerging resistance, and about the role of antimicrobial stewardship programs in helping to achieve this goal. Antimicrobial resistance is a critical issue that significantly impacts healthcare quality, patient safety and public health. Most people in the healthcare industry “know” we need to practice stewardship to address the problem. But, as they say, talk is cheap.
On one hand, I am thrilled about the growing recognition of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship. Suddenly, it seems, my lifelong commitment to this issue has a receptive audience. On the other hand, truly effective stewardship means more than just an acknowledgement of its importance. Healthcare practitioners, administrators, and policymakers need real tools to put effective antimicrobial stewardship strategies into place.
Antimicrobial Stewardship is designed to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics. Antimicrobial Stewardship programs help prescribers choose the optimal antimicrobial drug regimen at the correct dose, and to administer it via the correct route for the correct duration. Therefore, effective stewardship programs not only improve the quality of care but also can reduce wasteful spending.