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  • Report Makes the Case for Infectious Diseases Physician Leadership in Cutting Unnecessary Antimicrobial Use

    02/12/2018

    A paper published in Clinical Infectious Diseases today describes how infectious diseases physicians are uniquely positioned to lead programs guiding the use of antimicrobial medicines. The increasingly critical challenge of antimicrobial resistance threatens both individual and public health. Multiple studies examining infectious disease physician-led antimicrobial stewardship programs have demonstrated benefit by preventing unnecessary use, improving patient outcomes, and staunching development of drug-resistance in treated pathogens. Without such programs, many of the gains and expected benefits of modern medicine will be lost, the paper notes.

    The authors write that these multi-disciplinary programs comprised of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other medical professionals are most effectively led by infectious diseases – ID – physicians. ID physicians are trained specifically not only to make decisions for individual patients but to have a wider view of the impact of total antimicrobial use in healthcare settings, communities and regions. The paper cites examples from ID physician-led antimicrobial stewardship programs across the country, showing how the specialists’ clinical expertise, coordination and guidance improved patient outcomes. Examples included reduced hospitalization and treatment durations, lower antimicrobial costs, fewer adverse events and drug-drug interactions, and reduced rates of antimicrobial resistance. Among the measures cited in the paper were decreased rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections, and Clostridium difficile infections. Both are common and readily transmissible in healthcare settings. The paper also explains how innovative tools that include telemedicine can be used to expand access to ID physician leadership for stewardship programs in a variety of health care settings.

    Written by physicians and leaders representing the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the paper is online here.

    The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) represents physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. IDSA seeks to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases. www.idsociety.org

    The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. www.shea-online.org

    The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) membership encompasses leaders across the global scientific and public health spectrum, including clinical care, advocacy, academics, government, and the pharmaceutical industry. From fellowship training to continuing medical education, research, regulatory issues and guideline development, PIDS members are the core professionals advocating for the improved health of children with infectious diseases both nationally and around the world, participating in critical public health and medical professional advisory committees that determine the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, immunization practices in children, and the education of pediatricians. For more information, visit http://www.pids.org.

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