Antimicrobial Stewardship Saves Millions of Dollars

After seven years, the program cut utilization costs by 45 percent

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Antimicrobial stewardship programs save hospitals millions of dollars, according to a study published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Harold C. Standiford, M.D., of the University of Maryland in Baltimore, and colleagues performed a descriptive cost analysis before, during, and after the initiation of an antimicrobial stewardship program. Utilization costs were monitored quarterly for each fiscal year (FY) for seven years.

The researchers found that utilization costs decreased from $44,181 per 1,000 patient-days at baseline, before full implementation of the program (FY 2001), to $23,933 (a 45.8 percent decrease) by the end of the program (FY 2008). Costs were reduced by approximately $3 million within the first three years, much of which was attributed to decreased use of antifungal agents in the cancer center. After the program was discontinued at the end of FY 2008, antimicrobial costs increased from $23,933 to $31,653 per 1,000 patient-days, a 32.3 percent increase within two years equivalent to a $2 million increase for the medical center, mostly for antibacterial agents.

"The antimicrobial stewardship program, using an antimicrobial monitoring team, was extremely cost effective over this seven-year period," the authors write.

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