Description of Needed Change
The system-wide practice change initiative proposed by Kaiser Permanente is a large-scale fight against germ antibiotic resistance. This is in accordance with the healthcare organization’s goals by 2025, which include responsible use of antibiotics and purchase of products and materials that are environmentally friendly (“Kaiser Permanente”, 2016).
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The given initiative provides for the organization’s commitment to the use of enhanced and ecological antimicrobial practices both in the inpatient and outpatient care, as well as in skilled nursing facility settings (Brown, 2018). Particular efforts will be put to the elaboration of programs and guidelines to promote appropriate use of antimicrobial agents in patients and the use of an EHR to guide prescribing practice for antibacterials.
In order to better understand the impact of the different antimicrobial practices, the data on them will be tracked and collected. Another important aspect of Kaiser Permanente’s initiative is elaboration and implementation of new sanitation and environmental methods to prevent the spread of germs. The healthcare organization plans to integrate a set of standards into product-sourcing processes which provide for the use of safe chemicals and sustainable waste disposal.
This will include replacement of antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban contained in soaps, paints, lotions, and sanitizers used at health care setting with more ecological substances. The initiative that has been undertaken by Kaiser Permanente also involves the prohibition of the use of antimicrobial agents in interior building products with a view to reduce patients’ exposure to toxic chemical substances. The elimination of the use of antibacterials is expected to reduce the development of bacteria antibiotic resistance. The system-wide practice change program is aimed at elevating awareness of the growing threats of germ antibiotic resistance worldwide.
Underlying Issue that Is Leading to the Need for Change
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat drugs that were designed to kill them (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). This can be caused by overuse and misuse of antibiotics, which allows for the development of germ antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant infections are considered to be a global threat that jeopardizes modern medicine and the healthcare system.
It is a proven fact that only in the United States approximately 23,000 people die due to resistant infections (Brown, 2018, para. 5). The system-wide practice change that has been initiated by Kaiser Permanente stems from the rising resistance of bacteria to antibiotic solutions used for sterilization as well as antibiotics used for treatment.
Currently, bacteria antibiotic resistance has become extremely problematic, with some strains being resistant to almost all antibiotics (Klugman & Black, 2018). As bacteria and germs develop resistance to standard antibacterial solutions used for sterilization, the number of infections acquired in the health care facilities is growing. Kaiser Permanente’s initiative is aimed against indiscriminate use of antibiotically active compounds in soaps and consumer goods. Discovery, evaluation, and integration of the innovative strategies as well as identification of gaps about antibiotic resistance are important to protect patients from resistance threats and improve the overall quality of patient care.
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Current Status of the Initiative
The initiative was proposed only in 2018 and has not been implemented to the full extent of the intended objectives. Most of the ongoing aims are to be performed in the long run. To promote the germ antibiotic resistance initiative, Kaiser Permanente has joined a number of companies, both pharmaceutical and insurance, health care providers, and government health officials (Brown, 2018). The non-profit healthcare organization has already created a set of new standards regarding the use of chemicals waste disposal. In accordance with these standards, Kaiser Permanente no longer uses antibacterial agents, such as triclosan and triclocarban, in lotions, soaps, and sanitizers.
In 2015, the organization refused to use paints and other building products containing antimicrobial agents to reduce patients’ and staff’s exposure to toxic chemical substances and prevent the development of bacteria antibiotic resistance (Brown, 2018). Kaiser Permanente also determined the list of especially hazardous chemicals with antimicrobial properties and banned the use of finishes containing those substances in its hospitals.
At present, the initiative has appeared to be cost-consuming and not effective in eliminating the development of antibiotic resistance. Rejection of the use of triclosan and triclocarban will not only minimize the germ antibiotic resistance but also promote the spread of germs and the need to seek alternative antimicrobial agents. This is the current status of the large-scope change undertaken by the healthcare organization, though by 2025, the steps to be implemented are expected to be even more radical.
Next Step to Move the Change Initiative Forward
In order to facilitate the change, the following assumptions need to be taken into account. Long-term effects of the initiative are questionable due to low cost-effectiveness which will inevitably result in the growing costs for patients of Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals. The use of environmentally friendly antimicrobial solutions can appear to be ineffective, which will create the need to seek new antimicrobial agents or use the common ones. It should be considered that it would be more feasible to use different types of antimicrobial agents to avoid a new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Brown, M. (2018). Kaiser Permanente announces continued commitment to fighting antibiotic resistance. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Antibiotic resistance questions and answers. Web.
Klugman, K. P., & Black, S. (2018). Impact of existing vaccines in reducing antibiotic resistance: Primary and secondary effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(51), 12896-12901. Web.