I Know It’s Required Now, But Why Is It Important?

Blog by Mark Prifogle, GrandView Pharmacy CEO

While Game of Thrones fans know the motto for House Stark is, “Winter is Coming”, this picture is unfortunately inaccurate; Antibiotic resistance isn’t coming, it’s already here.

The Requirements of Participation for Skilled Nursing Facilities, Phase 2, includes a provision for the creation, and implementation, of an effective Antibiotic Stewardship Program (ASP) to be in place no later than November 28, 2017. We all know that this type of program is now required, but whenever we undertake a new program at GrandView Pharmacy, someone on our team always asks “Why?”. Knowing the “Why”, especially with millennials in the workforce, is a huge motivating factor to exceeding company, or regulatory, goals.

So, why antibiotic stewardship? Why now?

As Ned Stark so aptly illustrates, antibiotic resistance.

The impact of antimicrobial resistance is high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year in the United States, at least 2 million people acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to 1 or more of the antibiotics designed to treat those infections [1]. At least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections [1]. Many more die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Antibiotic-resistant infections add considerable and avoidable costs to the already overburdened healthcare system. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require prolonged and/or costlier treatments, cause hospital admissions/readmissions, extend hospital stays, necessitate additional healthcare encounters, and result in greater disability and death compared with infections that are easily treatable with antibiotics.

Creation of an ASP is not easy, but we are here to help! A HPS member senior living community implemented the GrandView Antibiotic Stewardship Program in November 2016; to date, they have been able to reduce their antibiotic spend by 82% and cut their antibiotic therapy days in half!

For resources on how to build your program, including helpful forms and policies, please click here.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance threats in the US, 2013
Available at:  https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf, Accessed 10 October 2017