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Dr. Melhim Bou Alwan presents antimicrobial stewardship workshop to Georgia chapter of American College of Physicians

Tue, October 24, 2017

Dr. Melhim Bou Alwan represented WellStar West Georgia Medical Center earlier this month in Savannah at the annual Georgia chapter scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians. 

A hospitalist with WellStar Medical Group Hospital Medicine, Dr. Bou Alwan presented a 90-minute workshop at the meeting on how to develop an antimicrobial stewardship program in the hospital setting.

Antimicrobial stewardship is a systematic effort to educate and persuade prescribers of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, to follow evidence-based prescribing. This helps reduce the overuse of antibiotics, and thus, antibiotic resistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause approximately 23,000 deaths and about 2 million illnesses each year in the United States.

Dr. Bou Alwan was instrumental in forming WGMC’s antimicrobial stewardship program in 2014 and now serves as chairman of WGMC’s antimicrobial stewardship multidisciplinary committee.

Dr. Bou Alwan said decreasing antimicrobial overuse helps keep hospital patients safer by decreasing adverse drug reactions, or kidney and heart damage. It helps with decreasing antibiotic-associated disease, such as infections caused by Clostridium difficile, a bacteria better known as C. diff. It also slows the increase in antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Bou Alwan said he used WGMC’s experiences and accomplishments in its antimicrobial stewardship program to highlight how physicians and other clinical staff developed the initiative at WGMC. He also described how their efforts are tied to best practices and the national guidelines available for this endeavor, including those of the Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission—the accrediting and certifying body for nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States—developed a standard in 2015 that hospitals have an antimicrobial stewardship program based on evidence-based national guidelines.

In June 2015, the White House brought together over 150 health and animal stakeholders involved in antibiotic stewardship to develop, promote, and implement programs to ensure responsible use of antibiotics. The Joint Commission was an integral part of the White House Forum on Antimicrobial Stewardship.

At the White House forum, the Society of Hospital Medicine committed to a “Fight the Resistance” campaign, which launched in November 2015 with a webinar featuring Dr. Bou Alwan along with Dr. Scott Flanders, a professor of medicine and director of the hospitalist program at the University of Michigan. The campaign was in conjunction with the CDC’s “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, which also occurred in November 2015. The goal of the “Fight the Resistance” campaign was to help promote culture change in U.S. hospitals that sharply reduces antibiotic overprescribing.