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COVID-19 and the AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use

The AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use: A National Program for Antibiotic Stewardship

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 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 to develop and implement a bundle of interventions designed to improve antibiotic stewardship and antibiotic prescribing practices across acute care, long-term care, and ambulatory care facilities across the United States.

Antibiotics are a precious resource and can be critical for improving the outcomes of patients with serious infections. However, antibiotics also have the potential to cause patient harm, including allergic reactions, Clostridioides difficile infections, and antibiotic resistance both at the individual patient level and for society as a whole. We want antibiotics to be effective for future generations, and that is only possible if we use antibiotics judiciously.

The Acute Care cohort concluded in January 2019 and the final Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit for Hospitals is available publically on AHRQ’s website: https://www.ahrq.gov/antibiotic-use/acute-care/index.html. The toolkit guides users through the signature “Four Moments of Antibiotic Decision Making,” providing a step-by-step approach for physicians to achieve optimal antibiotic prescribing. Among its more than 50 tools, the toolkit includes best practices for diagnosis and treatment of infections, approaches to improve safety culture and sustain overall success, plus tactical recommendations to demonstrate the value of antibiotic stewardship programs to hospital administrators and prescribers.

The Long Term Care cohort concluded in January 2020 and final toolkit materials will be made available later this year.

The final cohort is currently being implemented in Ambulatory Care practices and will conclude in November 2020.