A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report this month on antibiotic stewardship highlights the need for continued attention and improvement around the topic, says a hospitalist who has studied the issue.
The CDC announcement, "Antibiotic Rx in Hospitals: Proceed with Caution," circulated in its monthly report, CDC Vital Signs, urged hospital leaders to adopt at least a basic stewardship program and "work with other healthcare facilities to prevent infections, transmission, and resistance."
David Rosenberg, MD, MPH, FACP, SFHM, chief of the division of hospital medicine at North Shore University Hospital's department of medicine in Manhasset, N.Y., says the alert can serve as a spotlight.
"While we all agree that this is an important topic, there's a certain amount of inertia around it," Dr. Rosenberg says. "When the CDC comes out with statements like this, it really helps drive this forward. It really should be viewed as a call to action."
The CDC alert highlights the variability of antibiotic use. It notes that doctors in some hospitals prescribed three times as many antibiotics as doctors at others. The disparity in treatment standards makes stewardship a broad issue to tackle, Dr. Rosenberg says.
"It's not a simple fix," he adds. "You have to do it one piece at a time. How are you going to manage urinary-tract infections? How are you going to manage pneumonias? How are you going to manage bloodstream infections? We want ultimately to integrate the approach into the day-to-day practice of hospitalists, but there's a lot of data you need in a very organized format to inform those decisions. Stewardship programs organize the information in a way that can influence and change practice."