Collaboration to reduce antimicrobial use and resistance and identify opportunities for improvement and awareness

Infections are often treated with antibiotics, even though antibiotics are not always the best option. Only infections that are caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, infections caused by viruses do not respond to antibiotic treatment. An additional problem is that bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics which means that antibiotics no longer work. This is called antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Because there are few new antibiotics discovered, it is essential that antibiotics are only used when they are absolutely necessary. To save antibiotics, it is important to understand when and how antibiotics are prescribed, what affects bacteria becoming resistant, or what factors can stop the spread of infections in hospitals and in the community.

Governments and healthcare organisations collect data on antibiotic prescribing, infections and infection control measures, as well as AMR. Many of these databases are available freely while others can be obtained on request. CARA is designed to combine data on antibiotics, infections and AMR and allow researchers and healthcare workers (users) to access this information to make more informed decisions and improve healthcare.

The data infrastructure will enable users to access the data through visualisations, for instance, combining data from different sources in a graph or a map. Initially data will come from hospitals, the HSE and general practitioners, but once set up, data on antibiotic use in animals, or AMR in the environment, will also be included. The data infrastructure will be open access.

A group of recruited researchers will explore and analyse the linked data to identify factors that can be changed to improve healthcare, adapt strategies and design interventions to fight AMR.

A network of healthcare workers with an interest in infections, and researchers, nationally and internationally, will be set up to progress the research agenda and share the findings.

The overarching aim of CARA is to establish a multidisciplinary, responsive and operational unit in which linked data and integrated analysis will identify modifiable factors of HAI and AMR. CARA will translate research into actionable knowledge by involving knowledge users from policy and practice and developing and evaluating interventions. CARA will translate research into practice through

  1. Integrated audit and feedback for users/clinicians
  2.  An inclusive network of stakeholders and experts to respond to emerging issues and drive new research.

The environment and partners of CARA will ensure critical mass and increase capacity through supplementary funding.

Award Date
14 February 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Akke Vellinga
Host Institution
National University of Ireland, Galway
RL FA 2020