Medicine Pills Pixabay

Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed by clinicians and used by patients. Emily Perry is an antibiotic stewardship pharmacist within the Center for Collaboration and Advancement in Pharmacy (CAP). Perry is less than two months into her role administering an antibiotic stewardship grant to track antibiotic use in North Dakota. Prior to this role, Perry worked for Sanford Health in their antimicrobial stewardship program.

The grant was awarded to the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services who partnered with North Dakota State University and the CAP program to administer the grant. Throughout the two year grant cycle (June 2022 – June 2024), Perry and her team are working with all care settings and community members throughout the state.

Emily Perry “We are currently assessing stewardship interventions at the local level to determine what facilities are doing and how we can best track these efforts on a state level. We will work in a variety of healthcare settings, with an emphasis on rural and long-term care facilities. Our team is meeting with directors of nursing and infection preventionists to gauge their interest and identify how our team could add value. We are forming Stewardship Collaboratives to implement and evaluate evidence-based, local-level interventions,” Perry added.

“Many organizations have identified a need for staff education. We are looking at offering short webinars and speaking events to offer training in the more rural areas of the state. We are also thankful to our partners, which include the NDSU CIRE program; Dr. Paul Carson is serving as sort of a mentor to me, which is invaluable. Also, we appreciate the partnership with Great Plains Quality Innovation Network and the opportunity to share more about our efforts.”pill bottles

“One of our target areas is on the outpatient side; we are looking to identify different interventions and how we can improve antibiotic prescribing with respiratory illnesses. We will also study NHSN data to see how we can improve scores for the state as well as the number of providers reporting into the system.”

Primary barriers are physician acceptance and patient understanding. It is really important to protect patients from harm caused by unnecessary antibiotic use and combating antibiotic resistance. Another really important element of antibiotic stewardship is ensuring the availability of effective treatments for infections in the future.

“Also, it important to confirm allergies, like penicillin, to ensure an allergy exists through a simple skin test. Often times, we can avoid broad spectrum antibiotics and offer a safer treatment option if the allergy is not present,” she added. There is work to do in educating individuals that an antibiotic is not always necessary; progress is being made as individuals recognize the different between viral and bacterial infections. The healthcare community has a role to raise awareness and share the risks of overprescribing. It is also important to emphasize the importance of completing a prescribed antibiotic dosage course.

“Knowing that I am helping provide hope for future generations; this makes me feel really great about the work we are doing. To know that I’m helping someone possibly not have a negative reaction to a medication and then making sure that there’s treatment options for the future; for my kids and grandkids; that brings me satisfaction.”

The mission of the CAP Center is to advance patient care and outcomes resulting in improved population health. The CAP Center provides training, resources, and support for interventions fostering advancement of pharmacy and collaboration with other health professions using evidence-based practices. Learn more.

Additional Resources:

Q tips logo

To learn more, check out our podcast, Q-Tips For Your Ears!

Antibiotic Use – Gain Knowledge and Understanding: What are antibiotics, why is antibiotic awareness important and how can we be good stewards when using antibiotics? Knowing when antibiotics are needed and how antibiotic misuse can affect others is key to having antibiotics work when we need them. Take a few minutes to listen and learn more.