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Study Shows Antibiotic Stewardship Practices Widely Implemented Across VA

March 1, 2016

An article published in the journal of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology discusses results from a nationwide survey that shows the robust presence of antibiotic stewardship practices (ASPs) in most VA-affiliated facilities. "The VA has been a national leader in the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs," said Christopher Graber, MD, co-author, HSR&D investigator, and infectious disease specialist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "This 2012 survey highlights how even though ASPs just started to emerge as an evidence-based strategy to combat antibiotic resistance, many VA facilities had coordinated stewardship activities, as well as staffing patterns that promoted appropriate antibiotic use."

Investigators in this study, partly funded by HSR&D, disseminated a web-based survey regarding stewardship activities to 130 VA-affiliated facilities in 2012. Key findings include:

  • Of the 130 responding VA facilities, 29 (22%) had a formal policy establishing an ASP, and antimicrobial stewardship teams were present in 49 facilities (38%).
  • Stewardship activities varied across facilities, including formulary restrictions (120 facilities, 92%), stop orders for antimicrobial duration (98 facilities, 75%), and written clinical pathways for specific conditions (96 facilities, 74%).

"After the [2012] survey was completed, VA issued a directive to all facilities, directing institutions to develop an antimicrobial stewardship program, so the number of formal ASPs has significantly increased to promote stewardship in a more systematic fashion," said Graber.

A follow-up survey was completed recently to assess VA's antimicrobial stewardship activities in 2015. The data, once analyzed, will present a longitudinal view of the progress made in stewardship activities within the VA.

Chou A, Graber C, Jones M, et al. Characteristics of antimicrobial stewardship programs at Veterans Affairs Hospitals: Results of a nationwide survey. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. February 24, 2016, ePub.