RCH Takes Part in Quality Initiative to Improve Antibiotic Use

More than 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths occur each year due to antibiotic resistance. 1

Rooks County Health Center (RCH) is implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship.

Antibiotic resistance is among the greatest public health threats today, leading to an estimated 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths per year in the United States1. At least 30% of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in the United States are unnecessary.2 Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure antibiotic prescribing, improve practices to prescribe antibiotics only when needed, improve misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses leading to underuse and to ensure the right drug, dose and duration when an antibiotic is needed. The goal of stewardship is to maximize the benefits of antibiotics while minimizing harm to individual persons and communities.

RCH is participating with other providers to become good stewards of antibiotics. These committed partners are working together to discuss and spread the principles of antibiotic stewardship. Recruited partners include community health centers, emergency departments, pharmacies, physician offices, public health clinics, outpatient clinics and urgent care centers. Antibiotic stewardship programs are designed to strategically approach, monitor, reduce and prevent misuse and overuse of antibiotics in healthcare settings. Establishing effective antibiotic stewardship interventions can protect patients and improve clinical outcomes in outpatient healthcare settings. Overuse of antibiotics may cause immunity to the effectiveness of the drug.

The initiative is facilitated by the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (GPQIN), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Education, tools and resources and technical assistance, along with best practice strategies and evidence-based resources aids participants in implementing what they have learned. Participants also have opportunities for networking, learning and sharing across organizations. More information can be found at: https://greatplainsqin.org/initiatives/antibiotic-stewardship/

“Antibiotic resistance is becoming a public health problem. Coughs, colds, sinusitis and sore throats are often caused by viruses and antibiotics do not work for viruses. The best treatment for these ailments is often rest and fluids. You can always call to discuss symptom treatments with your healthcare provider,” stated Dr. Lynn Fisher of Lifeline Family Medicine.

What you can do to help with antibiotic resistance:

  • Ask if there are steps you can take to feel better and get relief without using antibiotics
  • Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed
  • Safely discard any leftover medication
  • Get recommended vaccinations

What you should not do:

  • Never take antibiotics for viral infections. Antibiotics do NOT cure viral infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, most coughs and bronchitis (“chest colds”), many sinus infections and many ear infections
  • Never pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics
  • Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early
  • Never save antibiotics for the next time you become sick and do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else
  1. CDC. Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 [internet]. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2013.
  2. Fleming-Dutra KE, Hersh AL, Shapiro DJ, et al. Prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions among U.S. ambulatory care visits, 2010-2011. JAMA 2016;315:1864-73.

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