DETROIT (WWJ) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a new antibiotic tracking system allowing hospitals to monitor antibiotic use electronically, make better decisions about how to improve use, and compare themselves to other hospitals. Before now, CDC was only able to track antibiotic use in doctors′ offices.
Each year, millions of Americans take antibiotics to fight infections. But overuse and misuse of antibiotics can change germs, allowing them to evolve resistance to antibiotics, which increases the risk of an infection for which there are limited or no treatment options.
Patients who receive antibiotics can experience side effects, including allergic reactions and may be at increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection, a potentially deadly diarrheal infection.
“Antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, which is a major public health problem,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said in a statement. “Hospitals and other health care facilities should monitor the antibiotics used in their facilities. This new system is a powerful tool that will enhance providers′ ability to monitor and improve patterns of antibiotic use so that these essential drugs will still be effective in the years to come.”
The antibiotic use tracking system is part of CDC′s National Healthcare Safety Network, the nation′s premier tool for monitoring infections in health care facilities, which includes over 4,800 hospitals.
CDC has funded four health departments and their academic partners to implement the tracking system in 70 hospitals. In addition, any hospital that participates in the National Healthcare Safety Network can utilize this tool by working directly with its pharmacy software vendor to transmit data electronically from drug administration or barcoding records. There is no manual entry of data, thus saving a facility time and money.
Arjun Srinivasan who heads CDC′s Get Smart for Healthcare program, said they are already seeing germs that are stronger than any antibiotics we have to treat them, including some infections in health care settings.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.