CDC Launches Electronic Antibiotic Tracking System In Hospitals
November 15, 2011

CDC Launches Electronic Antibiotic Tracking System In Hospitals

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that it is launching an electronic antibiotic tracking system to monitor antibiotic use in the nation´s hospitals.

The campaign seeks to help doctors and hospitals to make better decisions about how to improve antibiotic use, and compare themselves to other hospitals, the CDC said.

Until now, the CDC was only able to track antibiotic use in doctors“² offices.

Millions of Americans take antibiotics each year to fight infections, but overuse and misuse of the drugs can alter germs, allowing them to evolve resistance to antibiotics.   This can increase the risk of infections for which there are limited or no treatment options, the CDC said.

Additionally, patients who receive antibiotics can experience side effects, including allergic reactions, and may increase their risk for the potentially deadly Clostridium difficile infection.

“Antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, which is a major public health problem,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

“Hospitals and other health care facilities should monitor the antibiotics used in their facilities,” he added.

The antibiotic use tracking system is part of the CDC´s National Healthcare Safety Network, which includes more than 4,800 hospitals and serves as the nation´s primary tool for monitoring infections in health care facilities.

The CDC has funded four health departments and their academic partners to implement the antibiotic tracking system in 70 hospitals.

Any hospital that participates in the National Healthcare Safety Network can utilize the new tool by working directly with its pharmacy software vendor to transmit data electronically from drug administration or barcoding records, the CDC said.

“The threat of untreatable infections is real,” said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, who heads the CDC“²s Get Smart for Healthcare program.

“Although previously unthinkable, the day when antibiotics don“²t work in all situations is upon us. We are already seeing germs that are stronger than any antibiotics we have to treat them, including some infections in health care settings.”

A list of pharmacy software vendors who are working with the CDC´s new system can be viewed at the Society for Infectious Disease Pharmacists´ website at .