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CDC: Try Drug Stewardship to Curb Antibiotic Overuse

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, April 24, 2014

Checklists Can Help
Checklists are an important tool toward ensuring that all clinicians know when antibiotic medications should be prescribed. The CDC's checklists highlight the core elements of the stewardship programs, Srinivasan says. While much of the information is basic, such as checking test results to ensure the patient actually has a bacterial infection—these are vital, commonsense steps that are frequently overlooked in the rush to treat many patients over the course of a day.

"We've already reached the point at which it's become critical to take preventative action," says Srnivasan. "We have infections that we've run out of antibiotics to treat. But we already have the knowledge [to prevent the worsening of the situation] at our fingertips. It's the perfect combination to take action to try and solve the problem."

Leadership is Vital
While there is no one solution to this problem, the CDC strongly suggests hospitals adopt drug stewardship programs to combat inappropriate use of antibiotics.

"This concept has been around for quite a long time. We used to call it drug management," says Srinivasan, "But stewardship is a much more accurate term. We're not trying to control or dictate—we're trying to manage a precious resource."

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