Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

ASP Team

In 2008, Markham Stouffville Hospital took a proactive approach to managing the use of antimicrobials by launching its Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP). An antimicrobial is a drug that kills micro-organisms. Antibiotics, which kill bacteria, are one example of an antimicrobial.

About the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Markham Stouffville Hospital

The ASP team now assesses the therapy of patients throughout the hospital on a daily basis. We are spearheaded by an infectious diseases specialist and several pharmacists with additional training in the use of antimicrobials. Their recommendations may include altering how the drug is given, the antimicrobial spectrum of activity (i.e., which pathogens the drug covers), how long the drug is given or discontinuing the drug altogether. 
 
We want the spectrum of activity to be as narrow as possible to reduce the risk of developing antimicrobial resistance.
 
Our ASP team has also implemented a number of guidelines and policies to promote rational use of antimicrobials. These include a pharmacist-lead intravenous (IV) to oral conversion strategy (a policy on how to change from IV treatment to oral medications). They have also created guidelines for surgical prophylaxis (use of antibiotics to prevent infections during surgery) and urinary tract infection treatment.
 

The goal: reduce antimicrobial-related complications

The team’s ultimate goal is to prevent antimicrobial-related complications, such as the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and Clostridium difficile infection,  and to reduce hospital costs. The team has developed a ‘culture of respect and trust’ within MSH. By routinely meeting with medical staff to discuss and evaluate the program, they promote the importance of stewardship and open communication. Staff address challenges and create solutions together to strengthen the ASP. For more information, see our Antimicrobial Stewardship Profile on the Ontario Public Health website.
 
In 2018,  the MSH ASP team launched the Spectrum app for desktop and mobile devices. The app features MSH-specific treatment guidelines for infections, local antibiograms (reports on how susceptible certain bacteria are to specific antibiotics), antimicrobial dosing, beta-lactam allergy assessment (assessing allergies to a class of drug called beta-lactam; penicillin is one example of this class of drug) and much more! The content was developed by the MSH ASP team and the app is free to download, visit www.spectrum.md.