Health service organisations need to monitor antimicrobial use and resistance as a part of the NSHQHS Standards (2nd ed.) Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard.

Using hospital-level antibiograms

An action of the second edition NSQHS Standards requires the monitoring, assessment and use of surveillance data to reduce the risks associated with healthcare-associated infections and support antimicrobial prescribing. Health service organisations may use cumulative hospital-level antibiograms as part of this process.

What are 'antibiograms'?

Antibiograms are tables of antimicrobial susceptibilities compiled according to a certain set of standards.  Antibiograms are an aid that can support antimicrobial stewardship programs in the development of local treatment guidelines and formulary management. Due to the complexity of antibiogram development and interpretation, the provision of antibiograms and use for clinical purposes should ideally be governed and supported by local microbiology and/or infectious diseases clinicians, as part of an antimicrobial stewardship program.

The Commission supports a standardised approach to the development of antibiograms at the hospital level, in conjunction with the relevant clinical specialists.

As part of AURA Surveillance System, a national passive antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system known as Australian Passive AMR Surveillance (APAS) provides analysis capability and reporting of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at the local, jurisdictional and national levels. APAS enables clinicians and policy-makers access to enhanced information, data and reports to inform appropriate public health action in response to AMR. APAS also provides all participating laboratories with access to the data cube for the preparation of regular reports and antibiograms to assist the antimicrobial stewardships teams in the hospitals that they serve.

Specification for hospital cumulative antibiograms