Urgent Care Association of America Leads Sector with Antibiotic Stewardship Statement

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Announcement intends to improve antibiotic prescription practices

The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) announced on Monday its antibiotic stewardship statement, which outlines a framework for the association to lead urgent care centers in reducing inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use and play a critical role in stopping the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

The support plan outlined intends to help lower inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use for monitored conditions or agents by 50 percent from 2010 levels by 2020 — a goal that was laid out in the White House National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in 2014.

“Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health concern that affects patient care, safety and healthcare costs,” said Dr. Sean McNeeley, treasurer of the UCAOA, president of the Urgent Care College of Physicians and network medical director of University Hospitals Urgent Care in Cleveland. “The antibiotic stewardship statement solidifies UCAOA’s commitment to leading the urgent care industry in addressing this problem while maintaining high standards of care for the millions of patients treated in urgent care centers every year.”

Pivotal Role for Urgent Care

Urgent care centers play a leading role in addressing the risks of antibiotic resistance. As a rapidly growing and vital healthcare sector, urgent care treats more than 160 million patients each year. Most urgent care patients seek convenient and affordable treatment of acute, infectious disease-related symptoms, such as upper respiratory and pharyngitis cases — illnesses that are often treated with antibiotics.

The push to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics comes as leading medical and public health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization warn of a “post-antibiotic” era in which common infections and minor injuries that have been treatable for decades once again become deadly due to antibiotic resistance.

“The UCAOA recognizes the unique opportunity the urgent care industry has to help mitigate the risks of inappropriate antibiotic use,” said McNeeley. “We are empowering our clinicians to play a critical role in the responsible use and preservation of antibiotics while focusing on the health of patients.”

A Framework for Improved Health

The UCAOA will lead the urgent care sector in improving its antibiotic prescription practices through the following areas:

  • Education and training: improving provider, staff and patient literacy on antibiotic resistance and enhancing provider training on antibiotic stewardship
  • Clinical decision support: leading the effort to provide clinical decision support technologies for urgent care providers through electronic health records and e-prescribing systems
  • Antibiotic use data collection: providing guidance and support for urgent care practices to collect data on antibiotic use and incorporate quality control measures on inappropriate antibiotic uses
  • Evidence-based practice: advancing evidence-based stewardship practices in urgent care through innovative clinical research and stewardship program evaluation

The UCAOA will educate urgent care staff on antibiotic stewardship during the 2016 Urgent Care Fall Conference, held Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference will devote a session to teaching attendees about the potential harms of inappropriate antibiotic prescription, common overprescribing scenarios and how to stop them, and ways to facilitate patient understanding of antibiotic stewardship.

Read the complete antibiotic stewardship statement on the UCAOA website. The position statement is approved and endorsed by the UCAOA and its partner organizations the Urgent Care College of Physicians (UCCOP) and the Urgent Care Foundation (UCF).

About the Urgent Care Association of America

The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) is a membership association for urgent care health and management professionals, clinics and those who support the urgent care industry. UCAOA provides educational programs in clinical care and practice management, has a monthly Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. UCAOA provides leadership, education and resources for the successful practice of urgent care for its members. For more information visit http://www.ucaoa.org.

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Rebecca Raudabaugh
L.C. Williams & Associates
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