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Monitoring antibiotic use cuts millions in wasteful spending, study finds
Date:3/15/2012

CHICAGO (March 12, 2012) Curbing unnecessary use of antibiotics is our best defense against the spread of drug-resistant infections. A new study suggests another benefit to antimicrobial stewardship: a potential cost savings of millions of dollars now wasted on therapies that don't help patients.

The research is published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, in a special topic issue focused on antimicrobial stewardship. Antimicrobial stewardship programs and interventions help prescribers know when antibiotics are needed and what the best treatment choices are for a particular patient.

According to the study, which evaluated a seven-year antimicrobial stewardship program at University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), the program eliminated $3 million from the hospital's annual budget for antimicrobials by its third year. After seven years, it had cut antibiotic spending per-patient day nearly in half. Cost savings were evident across hospital departments, including the cancer center, trauma center, surgical and medical intensive care units and transplant service.

Importantly, these savings did not compromise quality of patient care. The study found no increases in mortality, length of stay, or readmission to the hospital.

Despite its success, however, the program was terminated in 2008 in favor of providing more infectious diseases consults. The consequences of that decision were immediate. Antimicrobial costs increased by 32 percentnearly $2 millionwithin two years after the program was terminated according to the research.

"Our results clearly show that an antimicrobial stewardship program like the one at UMMC is safe, effective, and makes good financial sense," said Harold Standiford, MD, medical director for antimicrobial effectiveness at UMMC and the study's lead author.

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Contact: Tamara Moore
tmoore@gymr.com
202-745-5114
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Source:Eurekalert

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