The foundation of modern medicine, antibiotics, is facing new challenges as concerns grow over antibiotic resistance. For the past eighty years, humans of all ages have relied on antibiotics to either treat or prevent infections. Growing up, many of us have memories of a pink, bubblegum flavored antibiotic that we trusted to cure strep throat. Those who are older in age, such as baby boomers, have relied on antibiotics to help prevent and fight infections as they undergo procedures. However, these antibiotics that we all depend on to protect us, may not be as effective as they used to be. Recently, there has been a concerning trend in the increase of antibiotic resistance.
With an increase in antibiotic resistance, patients are put at a higher risk of infection, specifically patients of surgery. Each year, more than 6,000 deaths are a result of ineffective antibiotics. Antibiotics are typically given before and after surgery to reduce the risk of infections. Infections can spread from one part of the body to another causing serious problems and sometimes even death. Experts are saying that most of these infection-related deaths are happening to patients undergoing colorectal surgery, blood cancer chemotherapy, and hip replacements.
With an aging population, hip replacements are becoming increasingly more prevalent. Mathias Bostrom, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, explains that baby boomers are living longer and as a result their joints are being worn out. However, many of these baby boomers are not willing to change their lifestyles, hence the need and demand for hip replacements. In fact, hip replacements are expected to increase 174% by 2026 according to a study presented at the American Academy Orthopedic Surgeons annual meeting.
Definitive Healthcare actively tracks inpatient diagnosis analytics across all providers, further exploring the payments, charges, and claims that are broken down by all payer data and Medicare data. Besides payments and claims data, Definitive subscribers are also able to view any trends in relation to payments, charges, and claims. When comparing the number of Medicare claims from 2012 to 2013, there is an increasing trend in the number of claims for majority of the top ten hospitals of Medicare hip replacements. Of these ten hospitals, there was an overall increase in Medicare claims for hip replacements of 182 %, supporting the notion that there is an overall increasing trend of hip replacements.
With the number of hip replacements increasing, infections present serious threats to healthcare systems, especially with the trend of increasing antibiotic resistance. Many are calling this a loud wake up call for pharmaceutical companies. Fear is beginning to grow over the increase in antibiotic resistance. Ramanan Laxminarayen, director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics urges public health experts to develop “new strategies for prevention and control of antibiotic resistance at national and international levels”. With the growing fear over increased antibiotic resistance, one may wonder if we are coming to a future when a case of strep throat or a hip replacement could kill as a result of antibiotic resistance.
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