Antibiotic stewardship is a commitment to using the right antibiotic for the right reason, every time. We use antibiotics to treat or prevent bacterial illnesses in humans, pets, and animals raised for food.
In the healthcare setting, antibiotic stewardship is a patient safety practice that ensures antibiotics are prescribed correctly and only when needed. Stewardship improves individual patient outcomes, improves population health, and reduces healthcare costs. According to US Centers for Disease Control, 20-50% of all antibiotics prescribed are not needed or are incorrectly prescribed. Unnecessary antibiotics do not help and can hurt.
The Washington State Department of Health encourages all healthcare providers and facilities, and veterinarians and food animal producers to commit to using antibiotics wisely.
Washington State Department of Health Antibiotic Stewardship Activities
Washington State Department of Health supports healthcare facilities in implementing antibiotic stewardship programs with the programs listed below.
Antibiotic Awareness Week, 2022
The EQuIP (Education, Quality and Infection Prevention) program offers education on antibiotic stewardship to prevent and reduce antibiotic-associated harms, and on infection prevention to prevent spread of infections. EQuIP has stewardship program implementation guides and other resources for small hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient clinics.
University of Washington Tele-Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (UW TASP)
The Department of Health provides financial support for the University of Washington Tele-Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (UW TASP). UW TASP offers weekly video conferences bringing together UW stewardship experts and stewardship partners in Washington hospitals. UW TASP features clinical didactics, antimicrobial stewardship recommendations, and case consultations, creating a community of stewardship across the state. For information about joining UW TASP, contact Natalia Paz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Washington State Department of Health the Antimicrobial Stewardship Honor Roll honors hospitals and long-term care facilities that have antimicrobial stewardship programs which meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship.
The Washington State Department of Health supports the Choosing Wisely campaign. Choosing Wisely aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, free from harm, and truly necessary. One important way healthcare providers and patients can choose wisely is by not using antibiotics for viral infections.
Washington State Antibiograms
An antibiogram is a summary of bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics and can be used to help make decisions about antibiotic treatment for a patient. The Washington State Antibiograms page contains antibiograms from facilities across the state to aid healthcare providers in selecting antibiotics.
Antimicrobial Stewardship Advisory Committee
The Antimicrobial Stewardship Advisory Committee advises the department's Healthcare Associated Infection Program on activities to promote antimicrobial stewardship in all human healthcare settings.
Members of this committee include representatives from many different fields, including infection preventionists; prescribers and pharmacists; microbiologists; healthcare organizations; medical training programs; healthcare consumers; regulatory agencies; and local health jurisdictions.
One Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Workgroup
The One Health approach recognizes that there are linkages between the health of people, animals and the environment. Our One Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Workgroup is a multi-disciplinary workgroup made up of experts from human health, animal health and environmental health backgrounds. This workgroup collaborates to share knowledge to prevent and reduce antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic use in humans, animals, and in the environment in Washington State.