Much like telepharmacy, antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine. Infections that were once a death sentence if contracted are now entirely treatable, and advanced life-saving procedures like organ transplants are made possible.
Still, like all medications, antibiotics can cause serious adverse effects. Nearly 30% of all antibiotics prescribed in acute care hospitals in the US are either suboptimal or entirely unnecessary. Additionally, the misuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant infections, which threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics when they are administered correctly.
What is Antibiotic Stewardship?
Antibiotic Stewardship is the effort to measure and improve how clinicians are prescribing antibiotics. Monitoring and improving how antibiotics are prescribed and used is essential to treat an infection effectively. It also protects patients from the impacts of unnecessary or incorrect antibiotic use and the potential issues that could arise.
The optimization of the use of antibiotics through antibiotic stewardship is crucial to adequately treat infections, combat antibiotic resistance, and protect patients from the harm associated with unnecessary antibiotic use. Telepharmacy and Hospital Pharmacy Management, along with the flexibility and accessibility these services provide, could be the answer to further improving antibiotic stewardship.
Antibiotic Stewardship and Hospital Pharmacy Management
The United States National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria has established several core elements involved with effectively utilizing Antibiotic Stewardship and a goal for all US hospitals receiving federal funding to implement these aspects. Telepharmacy and Hospital Pharmacy Management may be the solution to making hospitals capable of combating antibiotic misuse by implementing these principles. The flexibility and expanded location coverage that telepharmacy provides helps position it to regulate how and when antibiotics are being prescribed across more hospitals and care providers.
One of the most challenging issues to overcome with antibiotic misuse is finding a way to create a wide-set standard for the prescription and administration of antibiotics when there are so many individual entities responsible for determining when and what antibiotic prescriptions are given for single hospitals.
Telepharmacy and online pharmacy verification eliminate this issue by extending the pharmacy services of one entity to a broader range of pharmacies. By applying regulations to how and when antibiotics are administered to a single computerized pharmacy system that works with on-site pharmacists globally, antibiotics can be regulated on a much larger scale without the limitations of making it work for each individual pharmacy.
Telepharmacy supports the opportunity for regulated and standardized pharmacy coverage, even in rural areas with less in-person access to traditional pharmacy services. Remote pharmacy services
provided from one central entity allow for regulations regarding administering antibiotics to be applied universally, including to areas that may have less reliable coverage without these services.
The complexity of medical decision-making surrounding the use and administering of antibiotics, along with the variability in the size and type of care facilities in the US healthcare system, requires a flexible approach to regulating antibiotics that traditional pharmacy and healthcare systems may not be able to provide. Hospitals that utilize telepharmacy services are found to be more adept at discovering antibiotic dispensing errors than conventional pharmacies. This means that telepharmacy services could both increase the effectiveness of antibiotic stewardship and have the core elements more easily applied to them on a larger scale.
This is just a brief synopsis of some of the complicated aspects involved with antibiotic stewardship and telepharmacy. For more information on telepharmacy, hospital pharmacy management, and the wide range of benefits that the service provides in addition to regulating antibiotics, look into some of our other articles. If you’re ready to utilize the benefits that telepharmacy provides, including decreased antibiotic misuse, contact us today.