“Misuse and overuse of antibiotics is one of the world’s most significant public health problems,” said Lisa Dumkow, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP, Clinical Pharmacist, Antimicrobial Stewardship, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.
To combat this growing crisis, Dumkow and Mercy Health have been expanding Mercy Health Saint Mary’s antimicrobial stewardship program. As a result of their innovative practices, the Michigan Pharmacist Association has awarded Mercy Health Saint Mary’s with the 2019 Best Practice Award.
Introduced in 2013 at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program promotes the appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics), improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance and decreases the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
“At first, we began in the inpatient setting of the hospital,” said Dumkow. “Ever since, we have been rapidly increasing our footprint in outpatient settings through education, information and through the use of dedicated emergency medicine and ambulatory clinical care pharmacists.”
With the assistance of Mercy Health’s Emergency Department Pharmacists Kasey Brandt, PharmD, BCPS, and Lauren Wolf, PharmD, BCPS, the antimicrobial stewardship program was expanded to include the Emergency Department at Saint Mary’s in 2014.
In 2015, the program was introduced to Urgent Care facilities, an innovation that the Michigan Pharmacist Association has recognized as award-worthy.
According to the association’s formal letter to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, the 2019 Best Practice “award is presented annually to a pharmacist or group of pharmacists for their involvement and participation in an innovative project that contributes to professional practice.”
“Mercy Health Saint Mary’s was the first hospital in the country to incorporate its antimicrobial stewardship program into Urgent Care settings,” Dumkow said. “Studies indicate that around the country, as many as 15% of antibiotics are prescribed through an Urgent Care setting, making it imperative to have stewardship guidelines and practices in place for the safety of our patients.”
Also given that 60% of the antibiotics in the United States are prescribed in an outpatient setting, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has begun dedicate ambulatory clinical care pharmacists’ time to antimicrobial stewardship in some Mercy Health Physician Partners offices.
In 2017, MHPP Walker-Standale office began its program, quickly followed by the Wege Family Medicine Residency Clinic in 2018. Within this past year, both MHPP East Paris Office and MHPP Rockford Office have begun their antimicrobial stewardship programs.
“We have been working well in advance of The Joint Commission requirements that all outpatient settings have dedicated antimicrobial stewardship programs in 2020,” said Dumkow.
Each year, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) create awareness around the use and misuse of antibiotics through Antibiotics Awareness Week, with the theme, “Get Involved,” celebrated in 2019 on November 18-24, 2019.
For colleagues interested in getting involved at a local level by becoming a part of the antimicrobial stewardship team, please feel free to reach out to Lisa.Dumkow@mercyhealth.com for more information.