Cherokee Nation Health Services Introduces New Antibiotic Guidelines

Health officials say they’re worried that one day there will be no more antibiotics left to treat gonorrhea.

Published October 14, 2017

TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Health Services is kicking off a program to educate patients on alternative ways other than antibiotics to heal common illnesses.

According to recent information released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are often misused for illnesses like influenza and the common cold, and like other medications, they could have side effects.

Using those CDC guidelines, the tribe will more closely monitor antibiotic prescriptions and the use of antibiotics by patients throughout all Cherokee Nation health facilities.

Leadership at Cherokee Nation Health Services’ nine health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital is also working to further educate staff on the proper use of antibiotics.

“We strive to educate our citizens and our doctors about the possible dangers of over prescribing medications and of building antibiotic resistance,” said Executive Director of Health Services Connie Davis. “Throughout Cherokee Nation Health Services, we treat more than a million patients per year, and it is so important that we stay vigilant and educated when prescribing.”

In 2012, Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital began the antibiotic stewardship program within their inpatient care, and this year the program will expand to the tribe’s nine health centers positively impacting the health and treatment of even more Cherokee citizens.

“Antibiotics can be a life-saving or life-threatening intervention depending on how they are used,” said Whitney Essex, Cherokee Nation Health Services nurse practitioner. “We are committed to improving patient outcomes by using antibiotics responsibly.”

The Cherokee Nation operates the largest tribal health system in the country. It oversees W.W. Hastings Hospital and nine other health centers in northeastern Oklahoma. In fiscal year 2016, the tribe had more than 1.1 million patient visits.

For more information on the CDC’s newest antibiotic guidelines, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/week/downloads/antibiotic-resistance-the-global-threat.pdf.

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