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How Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship Helps Healthcare Providers

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Did you know that some pathogens are now so resilient that even powerful antibiotics cannot overcome them? Antibiotic resistance is developing at an alarmingly fast pace and the pharmaceutical industry can’t keep up. This has left healthcare professionals to deal with high infection rates and has made treatments difficult and expensive to administer. While antibiotic resistance is inevitable, it’s made worse by overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Luckily there are medical programs that can help your facilities - enter telemedicine antibiotic stewardship.

Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship: What, How, Why & Where

Antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) are hospital-based programs that measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed and used. ASPs ensure that antibiotics are only used when it is necessary and appropriate. Operating at national and global levels to improve healthcare systems, ASPs protect the well-being of societies worldwide.

What Does Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship Look Like?

ASPs differ according to the size, staffing, and care provision at different medical facilities. Most of these programs include:

  • Human, financial, and IT resources.
  • Pharmaceutical leadership.
  • Periodic evaluations of ongoing antibiotic treatments.
  • Tracking and monitoring processes for antibiotic use/ resistance.
  • Regular reporting of related information to medical staff.
  • Antibiotic education programs for medical staff.

How Does Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship Work?

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship aims to improve patient outcomes and combat the adverse effects of antibiotic overuse. It advocates for antibiotic use only when needed and promotes appropriate selection and dosing of antibiotics. This slows the development of antibiotic resistance and helps antibiotics maintain their efficacy for longer. makes antibiotics stay effective for longer.

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Why Do Healthcare Systems Need Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship?

The rise of drug-resistant superbugs and the limited supply of existing antibiotics to fight puts current and future patients at risk. Without measures in place to curb their creation and spread, uncontrollable diseases could overrun medical facilities and decimate the healthcare system.

Your systems need ASPs to combat the high levels of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and limited existing antibiotics. As healthcare providers, you want the best outcomes for your patients, and improving antibiotic use in healthcare facilities is vital for patient safety.

Here’s why telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship works:

Cost-effective

Research shows that in the long run, ASPs are extremely cost-effective for providers and lead to annual savings for your facility. Telemedicine antimicrobial stewardship also saves the economy money by helping to stave off and manage disease outbreaks. Well-functioning telemedicine antimicrobial stewardship saves money by:

  • Improving patient outcomes.
  • Reducing hospitalization time.
  • Prevents unnecessary antibiotic use.
  • Saves unnecessary health-care resource costs.
  • Reduce Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates

Offers Flexibility

For ASP programs to be effective, access to information on antibiotic usage is imperative. Otherwise, they cannot track how your interventions are fairing and what needs to be improved. This is where telemedicine antibiotic stewardship is so useful. Telemedicine online technology allows you to access information continuously and quickly.

Aids Infection Prevention And Control

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship is a great compliment to IPC management and helps prevent the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in facilities. They go hand in hand-controlling the spread of pathogens requires smart antibiotic treatment. In fact, post-acute care facilities are required to have an IPC program in place which includes antibiotic stewardship. Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship could be vital in managing infectious disease outbreaks by reducing the spread of drug-resistance pathogens.

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Fights Antibiotic Resistance

Frequent use of antibiotics renders them less effective. The more exposure bacteria have to antibiotics, the more they adapt and the more adept they become at defeating drugs. High levels of unnecessary antibiotic prescription speed up antibiotic resistance. Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship reduces antibiotic misuse and slows antibiotic resistance.

Protects Antibiotic Availability And Efficacy

Preserving the effectiveness of available antibiotics is essential for a successfully functioning healthcare system. By making sure that antibiotics are used responsibly, telemedicine antibiotic stewardship helps to maintain antibiotic availability. This means that those that need antibiotics, get them. Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship helps to extend the lifespan of existing antibiotics - saving you time and money on finding new drugs.

Reduces Treatment Failures

Taking antibiotics is not without its risks - they can have harmful side-effects and cause allergic reactions. By destroying ‘good’ gut bacteria, overuse of antibiotics increases the chance for your patients developing secondary illnesses as it weakens the gut's defenses. Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship curbs these dangers by ensuring that antibiotics are only used when it is absolutely necessary.

Facilitates Better Patients Care

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship ensures that you can provide effective and correctly administered treatment. Your patients' health is protected and they can recover as quickly as possible. This is especially important for high-risk patients who need to receive immediate, quality antibiotic treatment. By increasing infection cure rates, telemedicine antibiotic stewardship can greatly improve your patient care outcomes.

More Education

Studies show that educating healthcare providers on correct antibiotic use can lead to better clinical decisions and patient outcomes. Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship uses medical guidelines and electronic alerts to help you educate your staff on the appropriate antibiotic provision.

Changes Mindsets And Encourages Communication

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship encourages professionals to engage with one another. Doctors can compare their prescription rates with their peers, and share tools to help make better clinical decisions. This helps to build better practices for healthcare professionals regarding the rationale for antibiotic use to treat patients. Medical personnel are motivated to re-evaluate their reasoning, leading to behavior change in antibiotic prescribing and dispensing practices within the industry. So by increasing communication, telemedicine antibiotic stewardship increases correct prescribing for therapies and saves more patients.

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Where Has Antibiotic Stewardship Been Successful?

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship sounds all good and well, but how has it worked in practice? The ideal approach for antibiotic stewardship is elusive due to different variables in facilities. Despite this, ASPs have shown success in diverse settings showing that a huge range of healthcare contexts can benefit from antibiotic stewardship.

Many countries have developed and implemented ASPs with great success, reaping the benefits. Using these programs has optimized the treatment of infections, reduced antimicrobial resistance, and decreased the adverse effects of antibiotic overuse. This has improved the quality of patient care and safety in facilities. A great example of antibiotic stewardship in practice in Australia.

Australian healthcare providers have prioritized appropriate antibiotic usage. As of 2013, antimicrobial stewardship programs are a criterion for accreditation of health services. Australia is the earliest country to recognize the detrimental impact Fluoroquinolones (antibiotic class) have on the spread of antibiotic resistance. This antibiotic class has been restricted by specific guidelines and alternative options are endorsed where possible. Hospitals are mandated to have an AMS program in place, adhere to their treatment guidelines, and must carefully monitor antibiotic use. In a successful outcome, Fluoroquinolones resistance rates in Australian communities is lower than other countries.

Final Thoughts on Telemedicine Antibiotic Stewardship

While ASPs are recognized as important by the international medical community, there is still a growing need for guidelines on establishing, implementing, and evaluating their efficacy. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America stated that more research is needed in order to optimize antibiotic stewardship programs for hospitals and medical providers.

Telemedicine antibiotic stewardship programs are incredibly important for healthcare providers to give the best patient care possible and combat the skyrocketing antibiotic-resistant levels. That’s why Beam Healthcare created its Infectious Disease and Prevention services which include telemedicine antibiotic stewardship. It’s an incredible service - improving access to care, helping facilities meet minimum requirements, and saving money. For more information on how Beam Healthcare can help your facility reach its targets and perform to its best ability-contact us today!