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Antimicrobial stewardship in Victorian hospitals: a statewide survey to identify current gaps

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The association between antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use is long established.13 Recognition of widespread inappropriate prescription of antimicrobials in hospitals has prompted action addressing this important patient safety issue. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) aims to improve the quality of care and clinical outcomes of patients requiring treatment or prevention of infection, while reducing adverse events and preventing the emergence of antibiotic resistance in local pathogens.4 In 2011, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) published recommendations for effective AMS programs in Australian hospitals, outlining five essential AMS strategies and four additional activities (Box 1).5 The new National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards,6 which include specific criteria for AMS, have further heightened the sense of urgency around implementing these programs.

AMS typically uses combinations of strategies, including implementing guidelines, using formularies, restriction policies,…