Owensboro Health

Dr. T. Lance Smith, Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, stands in a breezeway at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital was recently awarded the Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence designation by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

OHRH is one of 131 healthcare programs worldwide that received the honor, and is one of the only hospitals recognized that isn’t a major academic medical center, according to Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Dr. T. Lance Smith.

The goal of the antimicrobial stewardship is to ensure the most appropriate antibiotic is used for every patient who requires treatment. This includes how much, how long and how the medicine is given. This leads to better infection treatment and reduced side effects, better use of resources and, in most cases, decreased costs for both patients and the healthcare system.

Additionally, Smith said, it helps prevent antibiotic resistance.

“Infections that we see can develop resistance to antibiotics over time with exposure, so we want to decrease chances of antibiotic resistance happening, we want to decrease the possibility of side effects for patients,” he said. “Antibiotics are not necessarily benign drugs, they come with their own list of side-effects.”

The broader the antibiotic, the more side-effects they are likely to have, Smith said.

The idea is to use the most specific antibiotic related to the infection encountered by the patient. Doing this is more cost-effective for the patient and healthcare facility and decreases the chances of additional side-effects and antibiotic resistance.

“We have a wide group of people who touch many areas in the hospital, and having that kind of a group, we’re really able to make impacts across the board, whether it’s on appropriately treating infections, preventing infections, diagnosing infections, so we all work together in that aspect to make sure we’re treating each individual patient as appropriately as we can,” Smith said.

He said the process for receiving the distinction is a rigorous one, with the hospital having submitted more than 80 pages of documentation during the application process.

“We want to optimize treatment, so we want to make treatment as very specifically beneficial to every individual patient as we can, and by doing that, we ensure that we are effectively treating their infection,” he said. “We’ve proven that a community hospital can do that, and we’re proud to be amongst some of those names.”

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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