Information Technology Can Support Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs

A review of the stewardship-related functionality within EHR and 'add on' clinical decision support systems

Apr 24, 2019
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

The incorporation of information technology (IT) into an antimicrobial stewardship program can help improve efficiency of the interventions and facilitate tracking and reporting of key metrics, including outcomes, according to a Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) white paper published in the society's journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

"When used intentionally, information technology can help ease the growing demands placed on healthcare systems to meet antimicrobial stewardship standards and reporting requirements, even as financial and personnel resources are reduced," said Kristi Kuper, PharmD, BCPS, senior clinical manager for infectious diseases in the Center for Pharmacy Practice Excellence at Vizient and lead author of the white paper.

The paper, The Role of Electronic Health Record and "Add-On" Clinical Decision Support Systems to Enhance Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs, provides a review of the stewardship related functionality within these IT systems. The paper also describes how the platforms can be used to improve antimicrobial use and identifies how this technology can support current and potential future antimicrobial stewardship regulatory and accreditation standards. It also suggests enhancements to existing systems in use today.

Beyond recommendations on how best to select, implement, and utilize EHR and clinical decision-support tools, the authors outline several recommendations to help close the gaps in existing systems including:

  • Creating more nimble systems for non-acute settings such as primary care clinics, surgery centers, and outpatient dialysis centers
  • Improving documentation processes for clinical decision support and EHR tools to reduce the provider burden
  • Enhancing the ability to track and report patient outcomes
  • Establishing user networks to share best practices and reduce redundancies to help increase the efficiency of the development of rules and reports

"While existing systems may present challenges, when used optimally, informatics can create readily available tools for local and national reporting, help guide appropriate antimicrobial prescribing that improves selection, dosing, and duration of therapy, and serve as an educational reference for trainees and providers," said Kuper.