July 9, 2014
New CDC Module Helps Facilities Benchmark Antibiotic Use

AtlantaComing soon to a hospital near you: a new reporting module to create the nation’s first antibiotic prescribing index.

In July, the CDC will roll out a new way every hospital in the country can track and control drug resistant bacteria.

The CDC already operates the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), with more than 12,000 healthcare facilities participating. This month, the Antibiotic Use and Resistance (AUR) reporting module will be added. It is fully automated and will capture antibiotic prescriptions and drug susceptibility test results electronically, according to the CDC.

“With this module, we’ll be able to create the first antibiotic prescribing index,” CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, explains in his blog. “This index will help benchmark antibiotic use across health care facilities for the first time, allowing facilities to compare their data with similar facilities. It will help facilities and local and state health departments as well as CDC to identify hot spots within a city or a region.”

According to Frieden, the index will help answer the following questions:

• Which facilities are prescribing more antibiotics?
• How many types of resistant bacteria and fungi are they seeing?
• Do prescribing practices predict the number of resistant infections and outbreaks a facility will face? 

“Ultimately with this information, we’ll be able to both improve prescribing practices and identify and stop outbreaks in a way we have never done before,” he adds.

With the information, supportive and evidence-based interventions will be able to be implemented at each facility as well as at regional levels to help stop spread of resistant bacteria, according to the CDC.

Frieden argues that the “need for a comprehensive system to collect local, regional, and national data on antibiotic resistance is more critical than ever. The system now exists, and we need quick and widespread uptake.”

Looking to the future, he says the CDC is hoping to develop web-based tools and provider apps so physicians will gain access to facility- and community-specific data on the most effective empiric antibiotic for a specific patient.

“For example, a physician in a burn unit treating a patient with a possible staph infection will know what antibiotics that particular microbe is likely susceptible to and which ones are likely to be most effective,” Frieden explains.

With that kind of system, broad-spectrum antibiotics will no longer be the default choice, he suggests. Instead, prescribers will see recommendations for targeted narrow-spectrum antibiotics that are more likely to be effective and less likely to lead to potentially deadly infections such as C. difficile.

According to the blog, gathering the information also has financial as well as patient care benefits, noting that facilities evaluating their prescribing and resistance patterns and instituting effective antibiotic stewardship programs have saved money by reducing the amount of antibiotics they need to purchase and reducing complications.

Frieden adds that the new electronic module also can be used to track the use of antibiotics to improve prescribing and prolong effectiveness of new and existing antibacterials. It also will be a source for information about adverse events related to new therapeutics.

“These changes won’t happen overnight, and all of this data won’t be available immediately upon the launch of the module,” the CDC director concludes. “But with expanded investment, within five years, we should be able to make a real difference and save thousands of lives.”

U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect