In response to the growing epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASP) have been rapidly implemented in the United States (US). This study examines the prevalence of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) seven core elements of a successful ASP within a large subset of US Children's Hospitals. In 2016, a survey was conducted of 52 pediatric hospitals assessing the presence of the seven core elements: leadership commitment, accountability, drug expertise, action, tracking, reporting, and education. Forty-nine hospitals (94%) had established ASPs and 41 hospitals (79%) included all seven core elements. Physician accountability (87%) and a dedicated ASP pharmacist or drug expert (88%) were present in the vast majority of hospitals. However, substantial variability existed in the financial support allotted to these positions. This variability did not predict program actions, tracking, reporting, and education. When compared with previous surveys, these results document a dramatic increase in the prevalence and resources of pediatric stewardship programs, although continued expansion is warranted. Further research is required to understand the feasibility of various core stewardship activities and the impact on patient outcomes in the setting of finite resources.
Keywords: antibiotic; antimicrobial stewardship; quality improvement.