Project Title: Antibiotic Prescribing Practices of Healthcare Workers: Stewardship and Implications for Underserved Areas of the United States
Project Type: Literature Review
Antibiotic resistance has emerged as a global threat, and appropriate interventions must be put in place to address the factors that have allowed this dangerous issue to manifest. The burden of antibiotic resistance is higher in rural areas of the United States, and primary care physicians and nonphysician prescribers deliver most of the care. Thus, the purpose of my literature review was to analyze the differences in antibiotic practices by provider type, decipher whether underserved areas were disproportionately affected by inappropriate provider practices, and determine whether there were sustainable antibiotic stewardship practices (ASP) that could be implemented in areas of high antibiotic resistant bacteria burden.
What compelled you to choose this topic for your project?
At the time of my MPH@GW culminating experience (CE), I was working on my practicum at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The purpose of that project was to look at the manner in which health care providers were adhering to a policy that discouraged writing cough and cold medicine prescriptions for patients under the age of 2. I thought it would be interesting to translate this concept to antibiotic prescribing practices among health care providers. Furthermore, I wanted to explore the possible implications that different prescribing practices may have for underserved areas. It was especially interesting to perform this literature review as the World Health Organization had just put forth several new objectives for tackling the issue of antimicrobial resistance.
What was your favorite aspect of the CE project?
After completing the initial literature search, I enjoyed sorting the research and discarding any research that did not fit my literature review parameters. I was then able get an overall picture of the data regarding antimicrobial resistance, prescribing practices and stewardship programs. In the end, it was interesting to find that in order to tackle antimicrobial resistance, there must be better tracking of antimicrobial resistant infections, better methods for tracking prescriptions and improved stewardship programs in place that encourage consistency and adherence to guidelines.
How do you hope to apply the skills you learned during your project in your career?
This project made me aware of some of the root causes of health disparities in underserved areas, such as the limited health practitioner workforce, poverty-driven health practices and limited research regarding prescribing practices. This will be useful as I find ways to address disparities in both the medical field and in public health.