WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2016) — The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University announced today that they are entering into a three-year partnership to make the urgent care industry a leader in antibiotic stewardship by reducing inappropriate antibiotic use in this outpatient setting — action that could help slow the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health threat that is on the rise — bacteria that are resistant to our best antibiotics continue to emerge. Reducing inappropriate antibiotic use in all settings, including human medicine and animal medicine is crucial to preserving the utility of these life-saving drugs. Given the rapid growth of the urgent care sector, which sees an estimated 160 million patients visits each year, urgent care centers have the opportunity to become leaders on antibiotic stewardship by developing and implementing evidence-based practices that will contribute to preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations.
“Last year, the White House set an ambitious but necessary goal of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing rates in all outpatient settings by 50 percent by 2020,” said Dr. Sean McNeeley, treasurer of the UCAOA, president of the Urgent Care College of Physicians and network medical director of University Hospitals Urgent Care in Cleveland. “We want to do more than just our part in helping achieve this goal. We want to lead the way.”
Many urgent care patients seek convenient and affordable treatment of acute, infectious disease-related symptoms, such as cough and sore throat — illnesses that are often treated with antibiotics.
UCAOA and ARAC will combine their respective expertise to improve patient and clinician understanding of appropriate antibiotic use. Together they will develop patient education programs, implement training and education programs for both clinical and non-clinical staff, identify the most effective clinical decision support tools, collect in-depth data on antibiotic prescribing, implement evidence-based antibiotic stewardship practices and conduct research.
“We know that often patients demand antibiotics from their care providers even if a prescription is not warranted and if they don’t receive it, they will search out someone who will give them the prescription. At the same time, sometimes providers see giving patients antibiotics — even when not needed — an easy way to make patients happy, ” said Cindy Liu, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer for ARAC. “Since urgent care sees a higher proportion of patients with acute symptoms than traditional primary care, their providers frequently deal with these issues, and we are excited that UCAOA has reached out to be part of the solution. We hope to begin by learning the best ways to communicate with patients that improves their understanding of when antibiotics are needed while also ensuring patients feel satisfied with their visits.”
Inappropriate antibiotic use is a major driver of antibiotic resistance worldwide. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared that we will soon face a “post-antibiotic” era unless there are significant reductions in inappropriate antibiotic use in all sectors.
About the Urgent Care Association of America: The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) is a membership association for urgent care health and management professionals, clinics and those who support the urgent care industry. UCAOA provides educational programs in clinical care and practice management, has a monthly Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. UCAOA provides leadership, education and resources for the successful practice of urgent care for its members. For more information visit www.ucaoa.org.
About the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center: The Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) was created to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by engaging in research, advocacy, and science-based policy. ARAC is part of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Learn more at our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University: Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.