A paper published in Clinical Infectious Diseases today describes how infectious diseases physicians are uniquely positioned to lead programs guiding the use of antimicrobials. The increasingly critical challenge of antimicrobial resistance threatens both individual and public health. Multiple studies examining infectious diseases physician-led antimicrobial stewardship programs have demonstrated benefit by preventing unnecessary use, improving patient outcomes, and staunching development of drug-resistance in treated pathogens. Without such programs, many of the gains and expected benefits of modern medicine will be lost, the paper notes.
The authors write that multi-disciplinary programs comprising physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other medical professionals are most effectively led by infectious diseases – ID – physicians. ID physicians are trained specifically not only to make decisions for individual patients but to have a wider view of the impact of total antimicrobial use in healthcare settings, communities and regions. The paper cites examples from ID physician-led antimicrobial stewardship programs across the country, showing how the specialists’ clinical expertise, coordination and guidance improved patient outcomes. Examples included reduced hospitalization and treatment durations, lower antimicrobial costs, fewer adverse events and drug-drug interactions, and reduced rates of antimicrobial resistance. Among the measures cited in the paper were decreased rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections, and Clostridium difficile infections. Both are common and readily transmissible in healthcare settings. The paper also explains how innovative tools that include telemedicine can be used to expand access to ID physician leadership for stewardship programs in a variety of health care settings.
Written by physicians and leaders representing the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the paper is online here: https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/cix1093/4851152
Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)