WOONSOCKET, R.I.— Prescription antibiotics are a critical treatment for many illnesses. But there are cases when antibiotics aren’t needed or effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 to 50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate.i Besides exposing patients to adverse effects, a second and growing problem from inappropriate antibiotic prescribing is bacterial antibiotic resistance, a serious threat to public health. To help combat the over-prescription of antibiotics, MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, has partnered with the CDC to support antibiotic stewardship efforts.
The partnership is part of the CDC’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge, a year-long effort to accelerate the fight against antimicrobial resistance across the globe. The AMR Challenge is a way for governments, private industries, and non-governmental organizations worldwide to make formal commitments that further the progress against antimicrobial resistance.
As a partner in the AMR Challenge, MinuteClinic, which has more than 1,100 clinics across 33 states and the District of Columbia, will advance its ongoing efforts to educate patients about the appropriate use of antibiotics and support its more than 3,000 providers with the tools necessary to be antimicrobial stewardship leaders.
Antibiotic prescribing will continue to be a key component of MinuteClinic’s clinical quality review process, which includes safety reviews, ongoing performance measurement and national benchmarking.
Additionally, MinuteClinic will continue to provide evidence-based and high-quality care of infectious diseases. Antibiotic prescribing decisions will be supported by rigorous guidelines developed using clinical algorithms from leading professional societies and organizations, such as the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice.
The effectiveness of antibiotic prescribing guidelines used by MinuteClinic is underscored by recently published research in JAMA Internal Medicine.ii Researchers found that retail clinics had the lowest rate of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for respiratory diagnosis visits, when compared with urgent care centers, emergency departments and medical offices.