According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.” This may seem surprising as most people have taken antibiotics many times in their lives. For many doctors, antibiotics are a go-to treatment for bacterial infections such as sinus infections and strep throat. However, the CDC estimates that more than half of all antibiotics prescribed in the U.S. were unnecessary. This overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance – when bacteria no longer respond to the treatment. This is a serious public health concern as few treatments are available when bacteria become resistant.
Last spring, the United Nations and the World Health Organization issued a call to action for member states to develop plans to address antibiotic resistance. In the United States, the CDC has called upon hospitals to implement Antibiotic Stewardship Programs (ASPs). The ASPs call for hospitals to optimize diagnostic accuracy by monitoring antibiotic prescribing and reassessing the use of antibiotic treatment.
Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that data-driven approaches are key to slowing the spread of disease. Keck Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) is leading the CDC’s call to action by using Qlik Sense to create an advanced data platform that ingests a broad range of medical data and applies logic to guide their understanding of antibiotic prescribing practices. In a webinar at QlikWorld Online, analysts from Keck Medicine – Marianna Mara, Amardeep Sahota, and Nairy Dola – showcased how they were able to set up their Analytics Prescribing Antibiotics application to take important data such as patient demographics and leading reasons for antibiotic use and align it with how antibiotics are prescribed and when they are effective.
Using data filtering to focus on specific areas like hospital information, patient background, and therapy trends, doctors can map out data to see a broader picture of various outcomes, which helps them to note disparities in antibiotic prescriptions. For example, filtering data based on gender differences found that males were prescribed antibiotics at a disproportionately higher rate than females, despite having the same diagnosis.
By filtering down by clinic, doctors at Keck Medicine can also identify departments with higher prescribing rates and engage them for support in stewardship efforts. On this strategy, Mara said: “By focusing on the critical few [antibiotics and prescribers], our business partners can hone in on the top providers, departments, and specialties that would require additional support or education around prescribing practices.”
Health professionals need to act now to identify trends in antibiotics prescription to gain a clearer picture of what is beneficial and what is harmful. To learn more about how data plays an essential role in understanding how to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance, watch the webinar “Antibiotics Prescribing Analytics” through QlikWorld Online.