The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and NORC at the University of Chicago, created the AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use(safetyprogram4antibioticstewardship.org) to develop and implement a bundle of interventions designed to improve antibiotic stewardship and antibiotic prescribing practices in acute care, long-term care and ambulatory care facilities across the United States.
AHRQ plans to recruit 250-500 pediatric/adult ambulatory clinics to participate in the free, 12-month program intended to help practices protect patients from exposure to unneeded antibiotics and their associated side effects, including rashes and Clostridioides difficile infections.
The program, which is scheduled to begin in December, combines evidence-based guidance with strategies to address the attitudes, beliefs and culture that often pose challenges to improving antibiotic prescribing.
Benefits of/Eligibility for Participation
AHRQ said that participating in the program will help clinics meet CMS Merit-based Incentive Payment System requirements and enable them to demonstrate compliance with the Joint Commission Ambulatory Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard,(www.jointcommission.org) which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Moreover, participants can receive CME credit and satisfy performance improvement activity requirements of the American Board of Family Medicine's Family Medicine Certification. (Note: Relevant ABFM certification fees may apply.)
Benefits of participating include support for practices' efforts to
- reduce unnecessary antibiotic use and increase appropriate antibiotic use;
- improve patient safety and safety culture;
- enhance teamwork and communication related to diagnosis and treatment of infections and antibiotic prescribing in the practice;
- maintain and improve patient and family satisfaction; and
- improve workflow, especially during the busy cold and flu season.
Eligible clinics must care for children and/or adults and be
- primary care clinics,
- urgent care clinics,
- student health clinics,
- community-based health clinics (e.g., federally qualified health centers) or
- outpatient specialty clinics that provide primary care.
Resources for Participants
According to AHRQ, participating practices will gain access to
- monthly webinars to review best practices for managing common infectious syndromes, as well as approaches to improve teamwork and communication related to antibiotic decision-making;
- free continuing education credits for physicians who attend the educational webinars;
- assistance with developing and/or sustaining effective antibiotic stewardship programs;
- online presentations with facilitator guides that can be used to train clinicians;
- office hours with experts to provide personalized guidance on antibiotic decision-making or antibiotic stewardship activities; and
- patient and family education materials, such as posters and handouts.
For those interested in finding out more about signing up for the program,(safetyprogram4antibioticstewardship.org) AHRQ offers a resource about the benefits of participating,(safetyprogram4antibioticstewardship.org) as well as a comprehensive FAQ(safetyprogram4antibioticstewardship.org) about the program.
Related AAFP News Coverage
Is That Antibiotic Prescription Really Necessary?
Study Finds One in Four Prescriptions Are for Inappropriate Indications