A LOOK AT THE JOINT COMMISSION
•Advance development and use of
diagnostic tests to identify and
characterize resistant bacteria
•Develop new antibiotics or other
“When you have patients who
have already been on antibiotics,
or who have been using
antibiotics inappropriately, there
is a potential for development of
multiple drug-resistant organisms
and severe diarrheal infections
that include C. difficile,” Ms.
Waldowski says. “This happens
because you aren’t just wiping
out what you’re intending to, but
also unfortunately wiping out
normal flora that is needed and
present in the gut and within
parts of our bodies. You can
cause harm when you’re not
using antibiotics appropriately.”
In a surgical setting,
Waldowski suggests following
evidence-based guidelines when
prescribing antibiotic prophylaxis
and confirming that the right
patient is being given the right
antibiotic, at the right dose, and
for the right amount of time. In
addition, staff in hospitals and
ambulatory surgery centers
can help to improve antibiotic
use and protect their surgical
patients by sharing necessary
antibiotic information when
there is a transfer of care and
stewardship programs to
provide focus for each person’s
role in the appropriate
administration of an antibiotic.
Providers have a resource
to help with educating patients
about antibiotics. The Joint
Commission’s Speak Up campaign
focuses on the do’s and don’ts
of antibiotics, including a table
that lists the illnesses that may
require an antibiotic. These
materials are available at www.
The thoughts and opinions
expressed in this column are solely
those of Dr. Pellegrini and do not
necessarily represent the official
views of The Joint Commission or
the American College of Surgeons.
1. Slayton RB, Toth D, Lee BY.
Vital signs: Estimated effects of a
coordinated approach for action to
reduce antibiotic-resistant infections
in health care facilities—United
States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report. 2015; 64( 30):826-831.
2. Centers for Disease Control and
resistance. Available at: www.cdc.gov/
drugresistance/ about.html. Accessed
November 20, 2015.
3. Bratzler DW, Dellinger EP, Olsen KM,
et al. Clinical practice guidelines for
antimicrobial prophylaxis in surgery.
Surg Infect. 2013; 14( 1):73-156.
4. Sawyer RG, Claridge JA, Nathens
AB, et al. Trial of short-course
antimicrobial therapy for
intraabdominal infection. N Engl J
Med. 2015;372( 21):1996-2005.
5. The White House. National action
plan for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Available at: www.
bacteria.pdf. Accessed November 20,
The practice of safely and judiciously
prescribing antibiotics has become a
patient safety issue—one for which
President Barack Obama’s Administration
has created a national action plan.