Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs: A Call to Action

Over the past 30 years, many multidrug-resistant organisms have emerged across healthcare settings in the United States. At the same time, there has been a dramatic drop in the development and approval of new antibiotics. “The antimicrobial armamentarium has been depleted,” explains Neil Fishman, MD. “As a result, our ability to treat infectious diseases has been severely compromised. Resistant infections are increasing morbidity and mortality while simultaneously increasing healthcare costs.” Research has shown that a multifaceted approach is required to prevent, detect, and control the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant organisms. This includes ensuring that effective and appropriate therapeutic agents are available and that healthcare settings have the diagnostic capacity to rapidly and reliably detect specific pathogens and their antimicrobial susceptibilities. Promoting better infection prevention and control practices and antimicrobial stewardship programs is important in reducing the burden of infectious diseases, Dr. Fishman says. More healthcare facilities nationwide are launching antimicrobial stewardships because they have the potential to reduce the emergence and transmission of resistant pathogens and decrease antimicrobial resistance. A Joint Position Statement on Antimicrobial Stewardship In the April 2012 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) published a joint position paper focusing on the need for public policy around the issue of antimicrobial stewardship. SHEA, IDSA, and PIDS have been at the forefront of addressing the need for antimicrobial resistance programs for many years, says Dr. Fishman, co-author of the position paper. “Great efforts are needed to improve prevention and control practices throughout the country.” Key Recommendations...