About 15 years ago, someone I knew was active in an organization called the Society for the Prevention of Overuse of Antibiotics (or something like that). While this has long been an issue of concern, back then it seemed a decidedly fringe issue. Fast-forward to the MRSA superbug and no-pay rules for hospital-acquired infections, and reduction in the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is a decidedly mainstream effort. Premier is on the case; VHA has a "Bugs and Drugs" program for its member hospitals which, the Wall Street Journal reports this week in a piece on antimicrobial stewardship programs can yield concrete results in a relatively short timeframe:
This is the sort of effort that can both improve outcomes and reduce costs in the health care system, and should be part and parcel of the widespread effort to get a handle on hospital-acquired infections, which was the topic of a HealthBlawg post earlier this week.