"It can be difficult for more rural facilities to employ the staff needed for infection control initiatives to work," said Robin Jump, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and physician-scientist with the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. "Telehealth can be a low-cost and effective way to provide facilities with the expertise needed to implement these initiatives -- eliminating some of the barriers that have typically thwarted these efforts."
The project created hour-long weekly video-linked meetings to connect rural VA pharmacists, infection preventionists, staff nurses, and other clinicians with an infectious diseases physician at a geographically distant VA facility. These meetings were set up to form a videoconference antimicrobial stewardship team, or VAST.
Threat - Resistance - Number - Physicians - Pharmacists
Despite the serious threat posed by antibiotic resistance, there is an insufficient number of infectious diseases-trained physicians and pharmacists to meet the urgent need for comprehensive antibiotic stewardship programs across many healthcare settings. For example, a 2012 survey of the Veterans Health Administration found that among 130 medical centers providing inpatient care, 40 percent did not have a full-time infectious diseases physician on staff. This leaves implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs to clinicians who have not received specialty training in infectious diseases or antibiotic stewardship.
"When antibiotic stewardship programs are left to those...
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