Antibiotic Stewardship (ASC-SC)
The Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborative of South Carolina, or ASC-SC, is a partnership between the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and DHEC. This partnership works towards improving appropriate antimicrobial prescribing in any healthcare setting in the state. The term antimicrobial prescribing is the practice of giving patients medication, such as antibiotics, to kill bacteria or other germs that can cause disease.
When viruses or bacteria change over time and are able to fight off medication meant to kill them, it is known as “antimicrobial resistance.” When viruses or bacteria become resistant to medication it increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and even death. Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent public health threat in the United States and worldwide; therefore, it is critical to develop ways to fight the spread of antimicrobial resistance. This is considered antimicrobial stewardship, and the actions and programs put into place, as a result, have been shown to reduce the overall burden of antibiotic resistance as well as to improve patient outcomes and decrease healthcare spending. Antimicrobial stewardship programs discourage the overuse of medications used to kill bacteria and viruses and stresses the need to use them wisely following the five D's of antimicrobial prescribing: diagnosis, drug, dose, de-escalation, and duration.
ASC-SC currently does a significant amount of education via Project ECHO sessions. We also provide quarterly reports to healthcare systems that utilize the NHSN Antimicrobial Use Reporting System. We provide guidelines to improve antimicrobial prescribing for common conditions and have begun to work on yearly antibiograms for the state and public health regions. We are working to expand our educational offerings to more providers and in diverse disciplines.
We are generously funded by the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare, as well as through CDC funds via DHEC.