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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The United Hospital Fund (UHF) will be expanding its efforts to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing from patients across New York City by launching Stage II of their Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the 250 million antibiotic prescriptions that are written each year throughout the United States, up to 50 percent of those medicines are used inappropriately, which can lead to antibiotic resistance. With UHF’s initiative, they will be working with seven hospitals that encompass 35 outpatient practices to help them create better prescribing practices for antibiotics.

During Stage I of the initiative, which started in February 2016, UHF collected data from 31 clinics throughout New York City and found that there was a huge variation in prescribing antibiotics to adult patients with acute respiratory infections (ARIs). During Stage II, UHF will develop the best practices for antibiotic use for ARIs based off of the data found in Stage I.

Hospitals that will be participating in Stage II are MediSys Health Network, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Health System, NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, NYU Langone Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.

“It is widely acknowledged that many health care systems do not have strong outpatient antibiotic stewardship activities, even when robust inpatient programs exist,” said UHF President James R. Tallon Jr. “Stage II of the Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative represents the commitment of UHF and its clinical partners to make New York a national leader in improved outpatient prescribing practices.”

Data collected during Stage I of the initiative found that use of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections, which can usually clear up without medication, ranged from 17 to 71 percent, averaging at 37 percent. Using these findings as a place to start, activities during Stage II will include the following:

  • Identifying clinical champions at each clinic site to drive practice change
  • Formalizing provider education regarding appropriate prescribing practices
  • Developing specific tools such as best-practice advisories for use with electronic medical records
  • Implementing monthly site-specific and provider feedback
  • Implementing patient education on appropriate use of antibiotics
  • Incorporating additional practice sites not included in Stage I

“We are very encouraged that the participants in Stage II of UHF’s Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative are committed to investigating, examining and improving their own practices, setting a standard for other health systems to follow,” said Deborah Halper, UHF vice president for education and program initiatives.

Besides expanding the Antibiotic Stewardship Program, Stage II is also intended to complement the CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program and New York State Department of Health efforts.

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