Mayo will be launching its second year of the Antibiotics Stewardship Project on January 2, 2018. Since the program’s inception in January of 2017, Outpatient Medical Director Dr. Elizabeth Dennis has worked with her management team and colleagues at Mayo Regional Hospital to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. When patients presented for care and were diagnosed with bronchitis or another viral illness, they were given a Wellness Bag that included educational materials provided by Choosing Wisely, as well as cough drops, tissues, hand sanitizer and other assorted items. Patient educational materials provided by Choosing Wisely were also displayed in each clinical setting and examination room.
The results of this project have been phenomenal. There were 134 patient encounters during the study time (January 1- March 31, 2017). Antibiotics were only prescribed 8% of the time at the practice level. This is a remarkable improvement from 84% during the baseline study time (January 1-March 31 2016). The Emergency Department data also saw double-digit improvement from 67% to 54%. Although antibiotics are indicated for bacterial illnesses, the majority of sore throats, colds, and coughs, including bronchitis, are viral infections. Although not widely understood, it is common for patients to cough for several weeks after having a viral infection. Antibiotics do not help people recover from viral illnesses.
Dr. Dennis remarked “This project has been extremely rewarding and we are thrilled with the results during the first year of implementation. The Wellness Bags were a hit with patients and the collaborative effort was a hit with my colleagues. I am confident that Mayo will not only continue this initiative but also increase its scope as we provide the best care close to home”.