Clinical Laboratories and Pharmacies Scramble to Be Ready for the Era of Hospital Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs That Starts on January 1, 2017

All hospital laboratories will be part of these programs, and it is an opportunity for medical laboratory professionals to deliver considerable value, as hospitals take steps to improve the utilization of antibiotics

Clinical laboratories and pharmacies in the nation’s hospitals and health systems have a huge opportunity to deliver substantial value in patient care. That’s because, at the start of 2017, hospitals must put effective antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) in place to meet the new accreditation requirements of Medicare and The Joint Commission.

Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics is now considered one of the biggest problems in medicine. “Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs, and if we continue down the road of inappropriate use we’ll lose the most powerful tool we have to fight life-threatening infections,” stated Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), in a press release issued by the CDC last May. “Losing these antibiotics would undermine our ability to treat patients [who have] deadly infections, cancer, provide organ transplants, and save victims of burns and trauma.”

Much publicity is devoted to the rise of the increase of antibiotic-resistant organisms. In recognition of this problem, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and The Joint Commission (TJC), took steps to add antimicrobial stewardship program requirements to their respective hospital accreditation programs. (more…)