Piedmont Athens Regional Named Canter of Excellence for Antibiotic Stewardship in Newborn Care

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has been named a Center of Excellence in Education and Training for Antibiotic Stewardship in Newborn Care from the Vermont Oxford Network (VON) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The award recognizes Piedmont Athens Regional’s efforts in improvement in managing antibiotic misuse and overuse, one of the healthcare community’s top concerns.

“We’re very proud to receive this recognition. Antibiotic misuse in the perinatal period can alter an infant’s microbiome for their entire life and decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics for the whole population,” said Julie Martin, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Piedmont Athens Regional. “Our team has worked extremely hard to ensure we’re promoting the appropriate use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics for our patients, and these efforts improve our patient’s outcomes, reduces microbial resistance and decreases the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.”

Piedmont Athens Regional’s Level III NICU provides comprehensive care for infants ranging from extremely low birth weight to full-term requiring specialized interventions. This Center of Excellence recognition comes from the hospital’s enrollment in Choosing Antibiotics Wisely, an international quality improvement collaborative developed by VON in partnership with the CDC to address the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in newborn care.

Antibiotic misuse and overuse is In the Choosing Antibiotics Wisely improvement collaborative that the Piedmont Athens Regional team joined, along with more than 180 other teams from newborn nurseries, birth centers, and NICUs around the world. The goal was to rapidly screen, identify, and treat infants who benefit from antibiotics while decreasing the antibiotic utilization rate for infants who did not need them.

Centers participated in a series of live webinars, developed structured improvement programs, audited their local practice outcomes and benchmarked with others. VON’s evidence-based approach audits and coaches teams to improve antibiotic stewardship together in a collaborative environment.

“Congratulations to the entire team at Piedmont Athens Regional on this impressive accomplishment and for demonstrating sustained commitment to antibiotic stewardship,” said Jeffrey Horbar, M.D., chief executive and scientific officer of VON.

As a global leader in data-driven quality improvement for newborn care, VON leads multi-center quality improvement collaboratives and provides resources to help interdisciplinary teams improve on the most critical and complex challenges facing newborn caregivers.