NHSN Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Module
It is well accepted that the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections and also in Clostridium difficile infections have been strongly influenced by overuse of antibiotics. In a variety of health care settings, “Antibiotic Stewardship” programs are being developed to reduce this inappropriate use.
To help tell whether those programs are making a difference, hospitals can track the utilization of antibiotics and the occurrence of drug-resistant infections using a data system called the Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Module (AUR Module). This is one component of a system that almost all Minnesota hospitals use to track hospital-associated infections, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
Nationwide, hospitals submit summaries of antibiotic data drawn from electronic medical records without patient names. Once submitted, the hospital staff use NHSN to generate detailed reports. One such report would show where in the hospital the antibiotic-use rates are the highest.
Some hospitals have existing technology to track results from their own hospital somewhat similarly. However, since hundreds of hospitals in the U.S. submit data, the AUR Module allows hospitals to compare their results to those from patients in all reporting hospitals. This external comparison, a “benchmark”, is a unique resource available in the NHSN AUR module. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments can assess these results to better understand regional distribution of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistant infections.
Because the AUR Module is using data from electronic health records to reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance affecting the broader population, it is now being included as a “Public Health Registry” option under the Stage 3 Electronic Health Record Meaningful Use Program.
For other types of NHSN reporting, data can be entered manually, case by case, into a secure website. The AUR Module is different in that data are extracted the hospital’s information systems and then summary files are uploaded securely to the NHSN system.