The Society of Hospital Medicine is harnessing the power of its members to keep the medicine from fighting back in a new antibiotics campaign.
The Society of Hospital Medicine launches its “Fight the Resistance” campaign November 10 to promote a culture change around antibiotic prescriptions in hospitals by teaching about the harms of over-prescribing these medications.
SHM, a medical society representing individuals who provide care to hospitalized patients, centered the campaign on posters that members can hang in hospitals to inform staff of the dangers of antibiotic resistance.
“If you put up a poster in a break room or in a hallway in a hospital, that’s going to be seen, that’s going to generate lots and lots of attention every day from people who need to see that message on a repeated basis,” said Brendon Shank, SHM’s associate vice president of communications, in an interview with Associations Now.
SHM will rely heavily on its members to disseminate the posters and raise awareness around the campaign, though the organization hopes the effort will also include nonmembers.
“Ideally it’s not going to be just our hospitalists, but they’re going to be the advocates to really improve the patient care, and that’s what we’re really trying to get to,” Shank said. “We know our members love to stand shoulder to shoulder with us to help improve patient care.”
Relying on members also ensures the culture change starts within the hospitals and other patient-care facilities.
The hospitalists are “the ones who can lead the behavior change and lead the culture change that’s going to be required here,” Shank said.
Statistics show change is necessary: In the U.S., antibiotic-resistant bacteria infects about two million people and kills about 23,000 each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overprescribing antibiotics can cause patients to stop responding to them because the bacteria becomes resistant to the medication, an issue that is especially prevalent in hospitals. The biggest threat is that patients in most need of antibiotics, such as those who have recently undergone surgery, will stop responding.
The SHM campaign takes place in conjunction with the CDC’s “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” which also focuses on antibiotic overuse and best practices for antibiotic prescriptions.
Posters will be available online and in the November issue of SHM’s magazine The Hospitalist. The campaign will also include a kickoff webinar with doctors, an expert video, and a social media contest featuring the posters.
“Most hospital-based clinicians—including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists—already know that over-prescribing antibiotics leads to serious problems in the short and long terms,” SHM said in an email. “Fight the Resistance empowers them to remind their colleagues and themselves about the best practices for antibiotic stewardship in a positive way on an ongoing basis.”