SHEA Applauds White House on Efforts to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance Nationally

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is pleased to see the Obama Administration’s attention and support for addressing antimicrobial resistance – a crisis that has profound impact on how we practice modern medicine. 

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, issued today, focuses on the core issues associated with antimicrobial resistance. Most noteworthy is the prominent inclusion on the need to implement strong antimicrobial stewardship programs in all healthcare facilities with an emphasis on antimicrobial use and resistance reporting from all hospitals. The report also recommends collaboration among both public and private institutions, systematic surveillance, research and investment in new antibiotics, and taking steps to reduce antimicrobial use in animals. 

“Antimicrobial resistance is a multipronged global issue that requires strong coordination and support.  The PCAST report provides recommendations that combined with strong government coordination and external involvement can push the healthcare community on the best path to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics and meet the threat of new, resistant microbes,” says Daniel Diekema, MD, president of the SHEA Board of Trustees.

“In 2012, SHEA formally recommended this very action of including antimicrobial stewardship as a requirement for hospitals in a policy statement on antimicrobial stewardship.  Given that, SHEA was very pleased to see this recommendation included in the PCAST report,” says Diekema.

SHEA firmly supports the need to establish antimicrobial stewardship programs in all healthcare facilities, in conjunction with a multipronged policy and research agenda to detect and control antimicrobial resistance, prevent infections, and optimize antimicrobial use to improve patient outcomes. SHEA believes the methods outlined in this report will build on the successful infection control programs already implemented in U.S. hospitals with the aim of reversing the tide of resistance; SHEA realizes there is considerable additional work to be done in long-term care facilities and outpatient settings so they, too, have effective antimicrobial stewardship programs

“Rapid diagnostics for surveillance of microbes and strong tracking mechanisms for antimicrobials – elements stressed in this report – help us understand from the trenches the scope of the problem and the need to address it head on.  Growing resistance has the capability to set medicine back decades.  The time to act is now,” says Diekema.

Source: Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)