November 14, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Patient Care Public Health
The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation this week joins hundreds of organizations across the globe including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in raising awareness about appropriate antibiotic use in honor of “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.”
Educating physicians and patients about appropriate use of antibiotics has been a priority of the CMA Foundation for the past 15 years, through its Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE) project. The AWARE project was formed in 2001 when the CMA Foundation, together with the California State Parent Teacher Association, the California Department of Health Services and representatives from health plans, the pharmaceutical industry and consumer groups initiated a five-year project to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics and the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in California. Fifteen years later, the project is still going strong and has received international accolades. Working with participating health plan partners, the CMA Foundation is able to identify high prescribers of antibiotics and provide targeted education.
“Project AWARE has been hugely successful in reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics and reducing the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in California,” said Lisa Folberg, President and CEO of the CMA Foundation. "It is an example of the important work the CMA Foundation does to protect public health."
Since its inception, AWARE’s goals have aimed to:
- Increase appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.
- Raise consumer awareness and understanding regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics.
- Mobilize the community to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
“It’s important that this information be available and that people understand the risks associated with unnecessary use of antibiotics,” said San Diego family physician James Hay, M.D. “Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection."
The CMA Foundation's AWARE program works on multiple fronts to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. In addition to advocacy around “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” the CMA Foundation has developed a mobile app containing clinical guidelines for appropriate antibiotic use. The AWARE Compendia mobile app provides easy access to the project's Adult and Pediatric Acute Respiratory Tract Infection Guidelines. The app is frequently updated to ensure accurate, timely information.
The AWARE mobile app is available on Android and iPhone devices. To download, search “AWARE Toolkit” in the Google Play store and the iTunes store.