UPMC Presbyterian Hospital named antimicrobial stewardship center of excellence

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital has been designated an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence by the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA).

The program, launched last year, recognizes institutions that have created stewardship programs led by infectious disease physicians and pharmacists that are of the highest quality and have achieved standards established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re very proud that IDSA has recognized UPMC’s extensive efforts to use antimicrobials responsibly,” said Minh-Hong Nguyen, M.D., director of the Antimicrobial Management Program at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Division of Infectious Diseases. “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest problems facing health organizations around the world. It is critically important that hospitals be good stewards of antibiotics and give these powerful medications only to the patients who need them, in a timely manner and for the appropriate duration. Overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics creates deadly superbugs and limits the lifespan of these medications.”

UPMC Presbyterian’s antimicrobial stewardship program started in 2002 and was one of the first such programs in the country, promoting timely and effective antimicrobial therapy while minimizing unnecessary antimicrobial use. The program, supported by Pitt’s Division of Infectious Diseases, hospital pharmacy and UPMC leadership, is staffed by four infectious disease physicians and five infectious disease-trained pharmacists. To enhance the appropriate use of antibiotics, the program requires prior approval for certain antimicrobials and partners with the hospital’s unit-based pharmacists to provide follow-up of existing antimicrobial orders.

“Each year, more than 700,000 people worldwide die due to antimicrobial-resistant infections,” said Paul Auwaerter, M.D., M.B.A., F.I.D.S.A., IDSA president. “IDSA has had a longstanding commitment to fighting antimicrobial resistance through its research, education, training and policy efforts. The Centers of Excellence program recognizes institutions that share our commitment by establishing antimicrobial stewardship programs that foster optimal therapies that protect patients from dangerous antimicrobial-resistant infections while safeguarding our vulnerable drug supply.”

The program works closely with laboratories at Pitt’s School of Medicine, including the Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) Pathogen Laboratory and Center of Innovative Antimicrobial Therapy, to define the role of new antimicrobial agents and identify the best possible therapies for patients infected by extensively drug-resistant pathogens. In addition, the program, in collaboration with the clinical microbiology laboratory, has established a diagnostic management team of clinicians, pharmacists and microbiologists to identify and evaluate the latest evidence-based technologies to provide rapid and accurate detection of infecting pathogens.

“The term ‘stewardship’ is meant to capture the intent of working collaboratively across groups toward the shared goal of achieving the best patient outcomes, while also using antimicrobials appropriately,” said Brian Potoski, Pharm.D., associate director of the Antimicrobial Management Program at UPMC Presbyterian and Pitt. “At UPMC we have a great working relationship between pharmacists, clinicians, infection preventionists and our scientists, which is reflected in this Center of Excellence designation.”