Today, the federal Office of Rural Health Policy recognized Astria Sunnyside Hospital as one of the nation’s leading crisis access hospitals for antibody stewardship.
In particular, the recognition is for tracking, measuring and managing broad spectrum antibiotics, like Augmentin. Broad spectrum antibiotics are popular and effective at treating bacterial infections in modern health care because they treat a wide spectrum of bacteria at once. However, because of over-prescription, they are becoming less effective.
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Astria Sunnyside Hospital was recognized out of the nation’s 1,350 rural access hospitals for its stewardship program among rural, semi-remote hospitals with 25 or fewer beds.
Jessica Zering, PharmD, leads Astria Sunnyside Hospital’s antibody stewardship program, and said COVID has given the world a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a pandemic where there’s not good treatments available. While COVID is viral, the next pandemic may be bacterial, and if there aren’t effective antibiotics, it could hinder a health care response.
One of the things that sets Astria’s program apart is antibody stewardship is written into Zering’s job description. They also adhere to Centers for Disease Control core elements of antimicrobial stewardship.
“It’s very exciting. I am very proud that we have a program that benefits our community enough to merit this recognition.”
Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem. A new report found that 1.27 million deaths were attributed to antimicrobial-resistant bacteria globally in 2019. Another report predicted resistance could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050.
Zering said that in addition to the large scale benefits of using broad spectrum antibiotics only as needed, monitoring of antibiotics prescriptions has benefits to patients. About 20% of all patients prescribed antibiotics will have side effects, and Zering said antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately about half of the time across the U.S. Stewardship programs like at Astria Sunnyside Hospital help ensure antibiotics aren’t prescribed when not needed.
A major aspect of the work is also internally educating physicians and patients. Zering creates educational documents for medical staff and maintains a chart tracking antibiotic resistance.
Zering recommended that other hospitals and health systems enroll in the University of Washington’s Tele-Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, which is open to all rural or small hospitals in the state.