Last week the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention launched a new antibiotic tracking system allowing hospitals to monitor antibiotic use electronically, make better decisions about how to improve use, and compare themselves to other hospitals. Until now, the CDC was only able to track antibiotic use in doctors’ offices.
Each year, millions of Americans take antibiotics to fight infections. But overuse and misuse of antibiotics can change germs, allowing them to evolve resistance to antibiotics, which increases the risk of an infection for which there are limited or no treatment options.
Patients who receive antibiotics can experience side effects, including allergic reactions and may be at increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection, a potentially deadly diarrheal infection.
“Antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, which is a major public health problem,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden. “Hospitals and other health care facilities should monitor the antibiotics used in their facilities. This new tracking system is a powerful tool that will enhance providers’′ability to monitor and improve patterns of antibiotic use so that these essential drugs will still be effective in the years to come.”
“The threat of untreatable infections is real,” says Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., who heads CDC′s Get Smart for Healthcare program.“Although previously unthinkable, the day when antibiotics don′t work in all situations is upon us. We are already seeing germs that are stronger than any antibiotics we have to treat them, including some infections in health care settings.”
The antibiotic use tracking system is part of CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a tool for monitoring infections in health care facilities, which includes over 4,800 hospitals.
For more information on the CDC, go to the Center For Disease Control Website at http://www.cdc.gov/.
To access a list of pharmacy software vendors who are working with CDC’s new tracking system, see the Society for Infectious Disease Pharmacists website at www.sidp.org.