New NCQA Website Highlights Responsible Antibiotic Use
October 3, 2022 · NCQA Communications
NCQA, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, has launched a program highlighting health plans that perform well on three HEDIS® antibiotic use measures. The program shares how health plans promote appropriate antibiotic prescribing and builds on NCQA’s work tracking and improving antibiotic prescribing in the United States.
Find information about the program on NCQA’s website at https://antibiotics.ncqa.org/.
The website highlights five major areas:
- Background on antibiotic management and misuse of antibiotics.
- Health plans NCQA identified as promoting responsible antibiotic use.
- NCQA’s method for identifying organizations that promote responsible antibiotic use.
- Lessons learned from health plans that perform well on the antibiotic measures.
- NCQA’s Quality Innovation Series sessions focused on antibiotic stewardship.
Health plans, clinicians, policy makers and other stakeholders can use the site’s resources to learn best practices to apply themselves. NCQA’s program aligns with the goals of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, which seeks to advance antibiotic stewardship efforts across healthcare settings to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
The direct link to the website is here: https://antibiotics.ncqa.org/.
The Big Picture
Inappropriate antibiotic use is a long-standing public health issue. It can expose patients to medication side-effects and can lead to antibiotic resistance—where drugs designed to kill germs like bacteria no longer work. Nearly 3 million antibiotic-resistant infections are reported each year in the United States, and more than 35,000 people die from those infections, according to CDC’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Threats Report.
Health plans play an important role in promoting appropriate antibiotic use. Plans can develop programs to support better prescribing practices and can educate their members about illnesses that call for an antibiotic.
The use of quality measures can encourage these efforts. NCQA’s HEDIS® measure set includes antibiotic prescribing measures for the three illnesses that are the main cause of inappropriate prescribing in the United States: bronchitis/bronchiolitis, upper respiratory infection and pharyngitis. The measures provide a framework for health plans to identify, highlight and monitor appropriate prescribing efforts.