Story by: Joe Hall on July 11, 2019
Overuse of antibiotics is a worldwide problem, reducing the drug’s effectiveness and making serious bacterial infections resistant to treatment. For its efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing, Norton Children’s Hospital has been named an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America awards the distinction to hospitals that effectively prescribe antibiotics and combat their overuse. Norton Children’s Hospital is only the fifth pediatric hospital in the country to receive the designation.
“These efforts will have a big impact on pediatric health,” said Emmett C. Ramser, chief administrative officer of Norton Children’s Hospital and a former pharmacist. “Not only is properly using antibiotics the best treatment for patients, but it’s also crucial for our future, as overprescribing leads to deadly, drug-resistant illnesses.”
Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause bacteria or other microbes to change so antibiotics don’t work against them. Treating these resistant bacteria requires stronger antibiotics. Because of antibiotic overuse, certain bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available today.
The infectious disease specialists with Norton Children’s are leaders in research, vaccine development and more to keep children safe.
According to Kentucky Antibiotic Awareness, the commonwealth has the second highest rate of antibiotic prescribing in the country and the highest among children. Nationally, at least 80 million antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed each year.
Norton Children’s Hospital has a multidisciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses and pharmacists from different specialties that examines antibiotic use trends within the hospital. Its studies have helped develop new guidelines and education for prescribing practices. The hospital also uses patient electronic medical records to optimize antibiotic treatments.
“We’ve made great strides to enhance the treatment of infections and reduce adverse events associated with antibiotic use,” said Navjyot K. Vidwan, M.D., director of antimicrobial stewardship at Norton Children’s Hospital and a pediatric infectious disease specialist with UofL Physicians. “These efforts allow us to improve the quality of patient care and promote safety.”