The Infectious Diseases Society of America has awarded Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas the Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence designation. Mercy is one of only two hospitals in the state to earn the distinction. The announcement coincides with Antibiotic Awareness week.
The designation recognizes institutions with stewardship programs led by infectious diseases-trained physicians and pharmacists who are advancing science in antimicrobial resistance. According to the World Health Organization, the resistance occurs when, over time, bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to medicines. As a result, the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death are increasing as antibiotic and other antimicrobial medications become less effective.
“Infections are becoming more difficult to treat,” said Linda Lam, an infectious disease pharmacist at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas. “It’s a global threat and this designation recognizes our work here at Mercy in Northwest Arkansas to prevent the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials – the main drivers of drug-resistant pathogens, or superbugs.”
Hospitals with the Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence designation have achieved standards aligned with evidence-based national guidelines, including The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Following a transformative year, antimicrobial resistance remains one of the greatest threats facing our future,” said Dr. Daniel P. McQuillen, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “By honoring these institutions who have achieved high standards in their stewardship programs, we are building a community fighting antimicrobial resistance. As we recognize National Antibiotic Awareness week, there has never been a more pivotal time to partner with each of the institutions that have received the Centers of Excellence designation.”
The core criteria for the designation emphasize an institution’s ability to implement stewardship protocols by integrating best practices to slow the emergence of resistance, optimize treatment of infections, reduce adverse events associated with antibiotic use and address other challenging areas related to antimicrobial stewardship. A panel of Infectious Diseases Society of America member experts in antimicrobial stewardship, including infectious disease-trained physicians and infectious disease-trained pharmacists, evaluate applications against high-level criteria established by the organization’s leadership for determining merit. Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas is among the 14 hospitals to recently receive the designation.