UW Designated as Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence

antimicrobial research

University Hospital has been designated by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) as a Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence (CoE). Antimicrobial stewardship refers to steps taken within health care systems to ensure the appropriate use of antimicrobial drugs in order to prolong their effectiveness and slow the emergence of drug-resistant “superbugs” — germs that cannot be killed by any currently available antimicrobial medications. Worldwide, more than 700,000 people die each year from antimicrobial-resistant infections.   


The IDSA program, launched in 2017, recognizes institutions that have created stewardship programs led by infectious disease physicians and pharmacists that are of the highest quality. Awardees must demonstrate that they have achieved standards established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Wise use of antimicrobial drugs involves having infectious disease experts monitor the choice of drugs that physicians prescribe and ensure that they are used at the most effective dosage, duration, and route of administration (such as by mouth, injection, or IV).


"Antimicrobial stewardship represents a critical set of tactics in the fight against the emergence of deadly, uncontrollable drug-resistant microbes. UW had previously been recognized by the CDC as one of 12 leading institutions in the field for pioneering work on stewardship over the past several decades, and we are honored to receive the IDSA Center of Excellence designation," said David Andes, MD, professor and head, Infectious Disease.


The UW Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Program places about a dozen potent, last line-of-defense antibiotics on a restricted list. Any provider wishing to prescribe them must discuss the case and receive prior approval from the antibiotic stewardship team. The team has also developed optimal dosing recommendations for various antimicrobials to promote effective treatment while minimizing overuse or inappropriate use.


Additionally, the team developed a system to flag medical charts for hospitalized patients being treated intensively with antibiotics. Team members actively review these cases in real time and provide recommendations to each patient’s doctor.


“The collaboration between pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other clinicians is a key strength of our antimicrobial stewardship efforts at UW. This is truly a team effort, with everyone focused on excellent patient care and making sure that antimicrobial drugs are used in the most effective manner possible,” said Lucas Schulz, PharmD, BCPS.


More information about the IDSA Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence program criteria is available online.



Photo (top): A researcher checks a Petri dish for a zone of clearance caused by an antimicrobial compound inhibiting bacterial growth. Photo credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine