Health Services introduces antibiotic guidelines

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/19/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Health Services is introducing a program to educate patients on alternative ways other than antibiotics to heal common illnesses.

According to recent information released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are often misused for illnesses such as influenza and the common cold, and like other medications, they could have side effects.

According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the United States and across the world. The CDC states the main driving factors behind antibiotic resistance are the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Using the CDC guidelines, the tribe will more closely monitor antibiotic prescriptions and the use of antibiotics by patients throughout all CN health facilities.

Leadership at Health Services’ nine health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital is also working to further educate staff on the proper use of antibiotics.

“We strive to educate our citizens and our doctors about the possible dangers of over prescribing medications and of building antibiotic resistance,” Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis said. “Throughout Cherokee Nation Health Services, we treat more than a million patients per year, and it is so important that we stay vigilant and educated when prescribing.”

In 2012, Hastings Hospital began the antibiotic stewardship program within its inpatient care, and this year the program will expand to the tribe’s nine health centers, positively impacting the health and treatment of even more CN citizens.

“Antibiotics can be a life-saving or life-threatening intervention depending on how they are used,” Health Services nurse practitioner Whitney Essex said. “We are committed to improving patient outcomes by using antibiotics responsibly.”

The CN operates the largest tribal health system in the country. In fiscal year 2016, the tribe had more than 1.1 million patient visits. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/index.html.

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