Delaware health care group reports progress in improving use of antibiotics


eBrightHealth is reporting success in an effort to improve the use of antibiotics.

The organization includes every hospital system in Delaware other than Saint Francis Healthcare, Wilmington.

The Choosing Wisely antibiotic stewardship from eBright, works on best practices that help to prevent overuse and misuse of antibiotics, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and reducing the spread of infections caused by multi-drug-resistant organisms.

One focus has been the reduction of inappropriate antibiotics for viral upper respiratory infections in the outpatient setting.

In addition, hospital-based teams at the Delaware health systems have reassessed the use of someantibiotics beyond 72 hours in hospitalized patients suspected of having an infection, said Robert Dressler, quality and safety officer, Christiana Care iLEAD, and team leader for the Choosing Wisely Initiative.

“What we’ve accomplished is impressive, and I think everyone we’ve partnered with should be extremely proud of the work they’ve done,” said Dressler, a statewide leader of Choosing Wisely, an international program to improve the quality of care by avoiding unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures.

Representatives from each of the health systems reported that they increasingly track the correct use of antibiotics and educate hospital stakeholders and outpatient providers about the stewardship campaign.

According to team leaders, their success is the result of monthly teleconference calls to solve problems and share experiences. There also have been quarterly meetings to coordinate efforts across a broad group of interested parties, such as the Delaware Division of Public Health, Delaware Health Information Network, Long-term Care Facilities Association and Quality Insights, a non-profit that strives to improve the services of Medicare and Medicaid.

“This is wonderful to see,” said Gary Siegelman, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Bayhealth. “The work that’s been done to improve our population health through antibiotic stewardship is tremendously important. It’s beneficial to patients throughout Delaware and reflects what we ought to do as clinicians in being judicious in how we provide care.”

At least 30 percent of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed in outpatient centers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has launched a national campaign. Overuse of antibiotics also is associated with risks for patients of adverse drug events.

At Christiana Care’s five Medical Aid Units and 14 primary care provider offices, total antibiotic use per 100 patient visits declined by 40 percent from December 2016 to June 2018.

At Bayhealth, early results show a decrease in one type of infectionat the Kent Campus and a 13.7 percent decrease in the inappropriate use of targeted antibiotics at Milford Memorial.

Nanticoke Health Services reported on efforts to educate outpatient Emergency Department providers and achieve a 10 percent reduction in upper respiratory usage.

Named for the Ebright Azimuth, the highest geographic point in Delaware, eBrightHealth focuses on sharing best practices, population health strategies and innovations in working to raise the quality of care.

(An earlier post reported that the eBright represents every hospital system in Delaware)

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