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HealthInsight Launches Get Smart: Preserving the Power of Antibiotics

Regional Campaign Supports Clinics and Outpatient Providers in Appropriate Prescribing to Combat Resistance

Feb. 28, 2017 — HealthInsight is launching Get Smart: Preserving the Power of Antibiotics—a campaign to engage and support medical practices and other outpatient prescribers in appropriate antibiotic prescribing to combat the rise in antibiotic resistance. The campaign is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program.

HealthInsight's Get Smart initiative will support 500 medical practices and other outpatient facilities in Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah in putting in place the CDC's Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship by July 2019. Activities will coordinate with efforts of the states' departments of health and antibiotic stewardship coalitions.

Infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria sicken 2 million Americans every year, and kill at least 23,000. Use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to resistance—and up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed for people are unnecessary or not optimally prescribed.

Most hospitals and nursing homes have antibiotic stewardship protocols that guide antibiotic therapy for admitted patients or residents. In the outpatient setting, the focus is on addressing "pressure to prescribe" during a care encounter, when patients may request antibiotics for conditions that they won't help, including colds and other viral illnesses. The CDC's Core Elements start with a public commitment to not use antibiotics when not appropriate—communicated through a simple poster in waiting areas and exam rooms, and supported through patient education handouts, such as "prescriptions" for other approaches to relieve viral symptoms.

HealthInsight's Get Smart initiative provides clinics and other outpatient facilities with free assistance to implement the Core Elements. Providers will get help with tracking their prescription activities and keeping current with clinical knowledge about antibiotics. Through technical assistance, education and materials, providers will be able to create an environment that surrounds patients with consistent information about avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, and supports clinicians and staff in making appropriate prescribing the everyday expectation of clinicians, staff and patients.

Get Smart invites participation from outpatient providers that have prescribing clinicians, including medical practices, urgent care, emergency departments, dialysis centers, pharmacies and ambulatory surgery centers.

Participation has additional benefits, including alignment with antibiotic stewardship requirements of payers and measurement programs. Implementing the Core Elements counts as an Improvement Activity under the Medicare Quality Payment Program.

"We all owe patients protection from serious infections that no longer respond to antibiotics because they were used too much for conditions they don't help," said Jerry Reeves, MD, HealthInsight senior vice president for medical affairs. "There has never been a more critical time for clinicians to join forces with patients and caregivers to preserve the power of antibiotics by using them only when they are really needed. HealthInsight can help providers and clinicians realize the mutual benefits."For more information on HealthInsight's Get Smart campaign, visit healthinsight.org/getsmart.

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