Antimicrobial stewardship programs get better when paired with IT

April 24, 2019

A white paper from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) proves that information technology is a valuable tool for boosting antimicrobial stewardship activities and outcomes. When used with electronic health records (EHRs), antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) improved markedly by increasing the efficiency of interventions, tracking and reporting of key metrics, including outcomes, said SHEA in a news release. The paper is published in the society’s journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

“When used intentionally, information technology can help ease the growing demands placed on healthcare systems to meet antimicrobial stewardship standards and reporting requirements, even as financial and personnel resources are reduced,” said Kristi Kuper, PharmD, BCPS, senior clinical manager for infectious diseases in the Center for Pharmacy Practice Excellence at Vizient and lead author of the white paper.

Kuper noted additional benefits of integrating IT and ASP. For example, it can make local and national reporting easier and provide immediate help with choosing the right antibiotic medications, which improves selection, dosing, and duration of therapy. The model also can be used as a strong educational reference for trainees and providers.

The paper, “The Role of Electronic Health Record and “Add-On” Clinical Decision Support Systems to Enhance Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs, provides a review of the stewardship related functionality within these IT systems, said SHEA, how the platforms can be used to improve antimicrobial use, and identifies how technology can support current and potential future antimicrobial stewardship regulatory and accreditation standards. It also provides recommendations for how to it can enhance existing systems by:

· Creating more nimble systems for non-acute settings such as primary care clinics, surgery centers, and outpatient dialysis centers

· Improving documentation processes for clinical decision support and EHR tools to reduce the provider burden

· Enhancing the ability to track and report patient outcomes

· Establishing user networks to share best practices and reduce redundancies to help increase the efficiency of the development of rules and reports