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AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use

Preventing patient harms today. Preserving antibiotics for tomorrow.

Antibiotics are a precious resource and can be critical for improving the outcomes of patients with certain infections. However, these medications also have the potential to cause patient harms, including allergic reactions, Clostridium difficile infections and antibiotic resistance both at the individual patient level and for society as a whole. For antibiotics to be effective for future generations, they must be used judiciously.

Through a contract awarded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and NORC at The University of Chicago are leading a national collaborative project that aims to improve antibiotic stewardship across acute care, long-term care and ambulatory care facilities.Antibiotics are a precious resource and can be critical for improving the outcomes of patients with certain infections. However, these medications also have the potential to cause patient harms, including allergic reactions, Clostridium difficile infections and antibiotic resistance both at the individual patient level and for society as a whole. For antibiotics to be effective for future generations, they must be used judiciously.

Visit the Project Portal for more details.

Continuing education credits available for health care professionals who are part of this program.

Long-Term Care Cohort Begins in December 2018

More than 400 hospitals across the U.S. began the 12-month program in December 2017. 

Two additional 12-month cohorts are planned: long-term care facilities (starting December 2018), and ambulatory and urgent care facilities (December 2019).

​Details on recruitment for the long-term care cohort will be available soon. Email antibioticsafety@norc.org for details.

Why Target Antibiotic Use?

The need for antibiotic stewardship is evident across care settings:

  • Hospitals. About 50% of patients receive antibiotics, with approximately 30% of antibiotic use considered suboptimal.
  • Long-term care facilities. More than half of residents receive antibiotics, with approximately 75% considered inappropriate.
  • Ambulatory facilities. The majority of antibiotic prescriptions — approximately 60% — occur in this setting, with at least 30% of these prescriptions considered unnecessary.

Collaborators

This AHRQ-funded initiative is a collaboration between the Armstrong Institute and NORC at The University of Chicago. During the pilot period, which began in April 2017, acute care, long-term care and ambulatory care sites across The Carolinas HealthCare System, The Geisinger Health System and the Johns Hopkins Health System will be participating in the program.

Accreditation

Health care professionals in this program can earn credits by participating in 15 educational webinars that will be delivered over the course of the 12-month project. See accreditation information below:

Continuing Medical Education

  • The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • Physicians: The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America designates this live activity for a maximum of 15 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Questions?

Visit the FAQ page of the portal or email us at antibioticsafety@norc.org.

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