Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) presents serious global concerns, now and in the future. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists AMR as a top ten threat to public health. Last year, there were 700,000 deaths worldwide from AMR. That number is expected rise to 10 million a year in 2050—more lethal than cancer—if we fail to change what we are doing today.
Google the term “superbug” and you’ll see close to 4,000,000 hits. The rise of superbugs—microbes resistant to powerful drugs—led the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to create the AMR Challenge, a year-long effort to accelerate the fight against antimicrobial resistance across the globe. CDC mobilized commitments from more than 270 countries and organizations around the world, including my organization, ECRI Institute. Action-based commitments are key. Without action, many nations risk slipping back into the pre-antibiotic era, compromising the success of major surgery, cancer chemotherapy, and other health care—and serious economic impacts, too.
At ECRI Institute, we take daily action in the fight against AMR. Our commitment to the CDC challenge focuses on infection prevention and control. Specifically, in 2019, ECRI commits to conducting hands-on evaluation and testing of infection reduction technologies, such as hand hygiene monitoring systems, ultraviolet disinfection systems, and disinfection caps. ECRI will also analyze reports of adverse events and near misses shared by healthcare delivery organizations, develop strategies for reducing harm, vet the trustworthiness of guidelines, and disseminate guidance and alerts that prioritize patient safety and strategies for infection control and prevention.
ECRI Institute’s infection prevention work takes a multifaceted approach, ranging from hands-on testing and evaluation to studying root causes of unsafe injection practices and isolation procedures; from in-depth technical briefs for federal agencies to disseminating alerts on medical product sterility problems; and from on-site technical assistance on healthcare-acquired infection prevention to on-demand education. We support all levels of the healthcare continuum: acute, ambulatory, long-term care and physician offices/clinics.
The outcome of these commitments will accelerate the fight against antimicrobial resistance in the years to come. I’d urge every organization to consider how they can make a commitment to combat AMR, be it at a local, national, or global level.
Let’s all help spread best practices, not infection!