Support for the collection of antimicrobial use data for antimicrobial stewardship

(This policy does not apply to non-medically important antibiotics.)

Antimicrobials are necessary tools for protecting animal health and wellbeing. Antimicrobial stewardship is successful only when all partners1 involved in antimicrobial use in animals are engaged. Veterinarians should promote and adhere to the principles of antimicrobial stewardship, such as evaluating antimicrobial use practices (AVMA Core Principle #4) and assessing outcomes of antimicrobial use (Core Principle #3). These actions require the collection and evaluation of antimicrobial use data and treatment outcomes in animals. Therefore, the AVMA encourages partners to work together to develop an array of objective, reproducible, and interoperable methods of collecting, evaluating, analyzing, and sharing antimicrobial drug prescribing and use data from individual veterinary practices, practice groups, or regions, and from other users of antimicrobials in animals.

Successful methods of collecting antimicrobial use data should address data access from various types of record systems, standardization of drug coding and disease definitions, and interoperability of data collection and analysis systems. The methods of collection must preserve veterinarian-client confidentiality and include acceptable data anonymization. Ideally, these systems will capture and integrate relevant diagnostic and animal outcomes to provide necessary metadata and context about therapeutic decisions. Simply comparing antimicrobial use and treatment outcomes in individual animals or groups of animals cannot accurately establish cause and effect relationships. Collecting and viewing these data in an integrated manner over time can inform and advance antimicrobial stewardship and veterinary clinical decision-making at the local level in the context of the veterinarian-client-patient interaction.

1 Partners refers to any or all of the following: animal owners, animal caretakers, animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, food animal producers, veterinarians, animal breeders, pet stores, zoos and animal exhibitors, animal transporters, software developers, animal health records systems managers, the general public, and legislators and regulators.

Related policy

AVMA-endorsed policy

Related resources