Hospital Checkups: New initiative at Cincinnati Children's helps doctors keep bad bacteria at bay

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to major hospitals engaged in a wide range of treatment, research and innovative activities. In our "Hospital Checkups" video series, WCPO asks each hospital to pick one thing it is doing new or differently in 2014.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Fighting to keep bacteria at bay & protect young patients

If you’re feeling lousy but the doctor hesitates to give you an antibiotic, there may be good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is a leading health threat facing communities and hospitals around the world.

Antibiotics have helped us feel better and have saved many lives over the years. Still, some have been used so widely and for so long that bacteria have adapted, making the drugs less effective and leaving doctors searching for new medicines to treat dangerous patient infections.

To fight back and protect young patients, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has launched a major new initiative called the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.

Infectious disease specialist David Haslam, MD, and clinical pharmacist Joshua Courter, PharmD, work closely with pharmacists throughout the hospital to help identify which antibiotics are likely to be most effective in fighting bacteria.

“The goal of the antimicrobial stewardship is to help doctors choose the best antibiotic, at the best dose, for the correct duration of time. Our goal is to try to limit potential overuse of antibiotics or overexposure to antibiotics, but still effectively treat the infections,” said Dr. Haslam, Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.

Cincinnati Children’s is the first pediatric hospital in the country to launch VigiLanz, a software program that monitors patient infections, prescription drug orders, and lab results, according to Haslam. Doctors will use this information to prescribe antibiotics more effectively so that the number of resistant germs will decrease.

Video by Mark Bowen of Mark Bowen Media  and reporting by Gretchen MacKnight.

Watch the "Hospital Checkups" series

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