News and Commentary

Antibiotic Limits Result in Savings

A new study that looked at the effect of an antibiotic restriction program (ARP) on length of hospital stay found a yearly saving of $122,550, based on an individual saving of $943 over the six-month study period. That’s good news for health plans and hospitals that look to limit readmissions and seek to lower morbidity and mortality rates.

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine compared the antibiotic utilization in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) before and after initiation of the ARP and evaluated the association between the ARP, the length of hospital stay, the overall cost in patients with CAP, and the complications arising from the disease.

Research suggests that inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat CAP has been associated with higher morbidity and mortality rates.

Baylor researchers observed significant reductions in antibiotic use and the mean length of stay when comparing patients during a six-month period prior to the ARP implementation with a six-month period after ARP implementation. The ARP resulted in a 57 percent reduction in the use of restricted antibiotics. Out of a total of 132 antibiotics that were ordered to treat CAP in the pre-ARP period, 28 were restricted (21.2 percent).

However, the number of restricted antibiotics ordered was reduced to 12 out of 114 after ARP was implemented. Mean length of stay was also reduced in the post-ARP period — from 7.6 days to 5.8 days. In addition, the researchers report that although not statistically significant, the 30-day readmission rates declined from 16.9 to 6.2 percent.

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