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Memorial Community Health Takes Part in Quality Initiative to Improve Antibiotic Use

Published on November 13, 2017

Memorial Community Health, Inc. (MCHI) has recently committed to an Antibiotic Stewardship Program focused on a coordinated effort to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics. This program is in line with the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

 “The creation of MCHI’s antibiotic stewardship program is extremely important in helping to mitigate the risks associated with broad-spectrum antibiotic use in our community,” said Nicole Dvorak, pharmacist at Memorial Hospital and chairman of MCHI’s antibiotic stewardship program committee.  A multidisciplinary team has been assigned to the program, including a physician and pharmacist lead, and staff from MCHI’s lab, nursing, quality improvement, infection control, health information management, and information technology departments. The team is focused on improving MCHI patient outcomes and the further development of programs that lead to better antibiotic medication use and management.

Why is this important?

Antibiotic resistance is among the greatest public health threats today, leading to an estimated 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths per year in the United States1.  At least 30% of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in the United States are unnecessary2 and studies have shown that 40–75% of antibiotics prescribed in nursing homes may be unnecessary or inappropriate.3,4  In addition, data also indicates that roughly 30% of antibiotics used in hospitals are unnecessary or prescribed incorrectly. While antibiotics are life-saving, they do come with risks. 

What is antibiotic stewardship?

Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure antibiotic prescribing, improve practices to prescribe antibiotics only when needed, improve misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses leading to underuse, and to ensure the right drug, dose, and duration when an antibiotic is needed. The goal of stewardship is to maximize the benefits of antibiotics while minimizing harm to individual persons and communities.

The initiative is facilitated by the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (GPQIN), the Quality Innovation Network - Quality Improvement Organization for Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Through GPQIN, education, tools and resources, along with best practice strategies and evidence-based resources are made available.

 “We are committed to quality improvement and are pleased to be participating in the Initiative to Improve Antibiotic Stewardship Programs,” said Dr. Jeff Muilenburg, MD at Memorial Health Clinic in Aurora. “This association allows us to gain insights from lessons learned by other organizations, giving us the opportunity to better serve those in our care.”  Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in healthcare today, and overuse comes with the issues of antibiotic-resistant infections (such as MRSA) and other negative side effects. Antibiotics are designed to kill or stop the growth of bacteria and are not effective against viruses such as the common cold and influenza.  “Part of our program is to better educate patients about antibiotics, and why they may, or may not, be prescribed as part of a treatment plan,” adds Muilenburg.

 “With the upcoming cold and flu season, it’s important that both health care workers and patients themselves make a conscious effort to minimize infections and properly utilize antibiotics. Together, we can all work towards being good stewards of antibiotics so that this valuable resource will remain available for the health of our community in the years to come,” says Dvorak.

What you can do to help with antibiotic resistance:

 Ask if there are steps you can take to feel better and get relief without using antibiotics

  • Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed
  • Safely discard any leftover medication
  • Get recommended vaccinations

 What you should not do:

Never take antibiotics for viral infections. Antibiotics do NOT cure viral infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, most coughs and bronchitis (“chest colds”), many sinus infections and many ear infections

  • Never pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics
  • Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early
  • Never save antibiotics for the next time you become sick and do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else


About Great Plains Quality Innovation Network

The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, CIMRO of Nebraska, Quality Health Associates of North Dakota and South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care has aligned to form a new not-for-profit organization – the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (Great Plains QIN). The Great Plains QIN was established to carry out the work of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program within Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Great Plains QIN uses the collective knowledge and resources of its members to achieve the aims of better health care, improved health, safer care and lower healthcare costs.

  1. CDC. Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 [internet]. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2013.
  2. Fleming-Dutra KE, Hersh AL, Shapiro DJ, et al. Prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions among U.S. ambulatory care visits, 2010-2011. JAMA 2016;315:1864-73.
  3. Lim CJ, Kong DCM, Stuart RL. Reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the residential care setting: current perspectives. Clin Interven Aging. 2014; 9: 165-177
  4. Nicolle LE, Bentley D, Garibaldi R, et al. Antimicrobial use in long-term care facilities. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2000; 21:537–45.