Quality Use of Antimicrobials in Healthcare (QUAH) Program

Aim

To optimise antimicrobial use in NSW public health facilities by raising awareness of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) principles and providing guidance in the implementation of structures and processes to support quality use of antimicrobials.

Benefits

By supporting AMS activities, the QUAH Program contributes to a range of proven benefits associated with optimised use of antimicrobials, including:

  • A reduction in inappropriate use of antimicrobials and more considered selection of antimicrobial therapy when appropriate; 
  • Improved patient care outcomes both in the individual patient  and in the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections; 
  • Reduced risk of adverse consequences associated with inappropriate antimicrobial use such as antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and unnecessary costs.

Summary

The QUAH Program supports NSW local health districts and networks by offering informative and practical advice to managers and health care professionals on antimicrobial stewardship.  A multi-disciplinary Expert Advisory Committee provides input to ensure the QUAH Program aligns with the needs of clinicians involved in AMS activities across the state.

The program also seeks to identify and address barriers to effective antimicrobial stewardship, provides useful resources through the ongoing development of an AMS toolkit and advocates for statewide action through strategies such as Antibiotic Awareness Week, prescriber education and peer networking.

Background

The QUAH Program is the AMS initiative of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC). The CEC has been involved in improving appropriate use of antimicrobials since 2009 through the Quality Use of Antimicrobials in Intensive Care (QUAIC) project and the Medication Safety and Quality Program. The QUAH Program was established in April 2012 as a component of the broader Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) Program.

AMS is a key strategy in the management and prevention of healthcare associated infections, and up to 50% of antimicrobial use in hospital inpatients is inappropriate. AMS programs aim to optimise the use of antimicrobials in order to improve patient outcomes, ensure antimicrobials are use in a cost-effective manner, and avoid adverse events associated with antimicrobial use, including development of resistance. The QUAH Program promotes quality use of antimicrobials, that is, using antimicrobials judiciously, selecting antimicrobials appropriately, and using safe and effective doses for an appropriate duration.

The QUAH Program is particularly focused on providing resources to support:

  • Antimicrobial restriction and approval systems
  • Monitoring of antimicrobial usage
  • Measuring the quality of antimicrobial prescribing
  • Intravenous to oral antimicrobial switch
  • Prescriber feedback and education.

An example of an initiative of the program is the 5x5 Antimicrobial Audit.This is a continuous audit that collects information about empiric antimicrobial prescribing within a hospital ward, based on work of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group. It supports the collection of data on useful parameters such as whether indications have been documented, concordance with prescribing guidelines and whether contact was made with medical staff in clinically appropriate scenarios. Audit results are fed back to prescribers and other relevant people at regular intervals. This is an AMS activity that both monitors antimicrobial use, prompts interventions that promote best practice prescribing and provides feedback to prescribers. 

For more information, please visit: www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/programs/quah

Partnerships

  • eHealth NSW
  • NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group
  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Key Dates

Antibiotic Awareness Week - this is a national campaign promoting responsible use of antibiotics. The CEC encourages all NSW local health districts and networks to participate in Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015. This year, the campaign will be held from 16 to 22 November 2015. Staff can begin planning for the week by getting together a team in their hospital to coordinate activities. Information on resources available can be accessed at: http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/programs/quah/antibiotic-awareness-week

16 November 2015

Antibiotic Awareness Week - this is a national campaign promoting responsible use of antibiotics. The CEC encourages all NSW local health districts and networks to participate in Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015. This year, the campaign will be held from 16 to 22 November 2015. Staff can begin planning for the week by getting together a team in their hospital to coordinate activities. Information on resources available can be accessed at: http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/programs/quah/antibiotic-awareness-week

Pilot Sites

Implementation Sites

Evaluation

Related Initiatives

Further Details

Contact

Evette Buono
Program Leader, Antimicrobial Stewardship
evette.buono@health.nsw.gov.au
02 9269 5581

Paul Curtis
Director, Clinical Governance
paul.curtis@health.nsw.gov.au
02 9269 5569

Page Top | Added: 6 November 2013 | Last modified: 9 November 2015

CEC
Status:
Contact:
Evette Buono
Program Leader, Antimicrobial Stewardship
Email
02 9269 5581
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