Infectious Diseases Experts Train Frontline Clinicians to Research Effective Antibiotic Use

Today, healthcare professionals from across the U.S. are gathering to further national and hospital-based research to improve the use and effectiveness of antibiotics. The Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop will prepare healthcare professionals to design, deploy, and evaluate antibiotic stewardship interventions that seek to stem drug resistant bacteria and improve patient care. The two-day meeting is hosted by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) with the support of an unrestricted grant from Merck & Co.

“There has been increasing momentum in developing and implementing antimicrobial stewardship strategies in hospitals,” said Jeffrey Gerber, MD, PhD, MSCE, co-chair of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop. “The evidence shows that we can optimize antibiotic use to improve clinical outcomes and decrease resistance, but in order to create sustainable change and move the field forward, we need the answers to several practical research questions.”
Antimicrobial stewardship interventions help ensure patients get the right antibiotics at the right time for the right duration. These strategies prevent patients from being over-exposed to antibiotics, which can ultimately cut down on healthcare costs and the duration of hospital stays. The workshop, which attracts an interdisciplinary healthcare audience including physicians, pharmacists, and trainees, encourages furthering antibiotic stewardship by reinforcing the investigative standards to design, implement, disseminate, and assess research projects.

The emergence of antibiotic resistance has become a burden on hospitals worldwide. Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections alone are estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $20 billion. Moreover, the frontline clinicians who are doing the vital prevention and control work in hospitals and clinics are often not equipped with the resources or skills needed to conduct stewardship research and carry the field forward.

“Existing research on antibiotic stewardship has told us that these interventions work, but now we need to ensure that the professionals implementing these strategies on frontlines of healthcare understand how to scientifically investigate which approaches best improve patient outcomes, so we can continue to advance antibiotic stewardship strategies and understand the value they provide to patient care,” said Elizabeth Dodds Ashley, PharmD, MHS, co-chair of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop. “What works in an inpatient care setting might not be as effective for outpatient care, and that is some of the types of research we are trying to encourage frontline clinicians to conduct.”

The second annual Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop is being held November 15-16, 2017, in Chicago. SHEA is hosting the workshop in collaboration with Infectious Disease Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, and the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists. The meeting is supported by an unrestricted grant from Merck & Co.

“Education is a central pillar of Merck’s antimicrobial stewardship strategy,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patient officer at  Merck. “Workshops like this are important in fueling the dialogue and providing researchers with the tools and knowledge to advance patient-centered antibiotic stewardship and combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.”

With this educational program, SHEA seeks to engage those interested in antimicrobial stewardship research and set the agenda for the national strategy for strengthening healthcare stewardship. More information is available online at The meeting is supported by an unrestricted grant from Merck & Co. to fund the educational development and execution of this critical workshop.

Source: Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA