Northern Maine Medical Center’s Butler earns 2017 Rising Tide Award

FORT KENT, Maine — Dr. Dustin Butler, Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) pharmacist, was informed by Judy Tupper, Managing Director for Population Health and Health Policy at the Muskie School of Public Service, that he has won a 2017 Rising Tide Award.

Butler received the recognition, along with two other individuals, at the eighth annual Patient Safety Academy Sept. 29 at the University of Southern Maine, Portland campus.

The Maine Patient Safety Academy grew out of an initiative by Maine’s critical access hospitals to build an infrastructure that supports patient safety and quality improvement activities.  This infrastructure led to multiple external grants and initiatives and the launch of the Maine Patient Safety Academy in 2010.  Over the course of the last eight years, the Academy has provided both practical and cutting edge educational experiences for an interdisciplinary audience of healthcare providers, pharmacists, quality and patient safety leaders, students, and consumer advocates.

The phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” is attributed to John F. Kennedy and refers to the efforts and accomplishments of individuals that ultimately benefit all citizens. The award is intended to recognize individuals who go the extra mile, demonstrate selflessness, recognize needs and take action.

The New England Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations program, (QIN-QIO), nominated Butler for leading the work at NMMC, as a model for antibiotic stewardship, which has been showcased at the national level. The QIN-QIO submitted the nomination for recognition to the Patient Safety Academy who sponsors the annual Rising Tide Award.

QIN-QIO’s bring Medicare beneficiaries, providers and communities together in data-drive initiatives that increase patient safety, make communities healthier, better coordinate post-hospital care and improve clinical quality. They also create opportunities for providers to learn from each other and they are skilled in creating opportunities for providers to learn from each other within their multistate regions, as well as provide opportunities to share best practices nationwide.

Butler and the committee he works with at NMMC earned the award for their work in antibiotic stewardship. The implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program is a means to guide the prescribing of antibiotics. Implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program is a commitment to always use antibiotics appropriately and safely—to use the right antibiotic at the right time at the right dose for the right duration.

NMMC began to develop an antibiotic stewardship program in 2015.  Utilizing assessment tools developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and based on existing treatment guidelines, a special NMMC Antibiotic Stewardship Committee explored opportunities for improving antibiotic use at the local level.

Butler said, “We are committed to the success of our antibiotic stewardship program which is aimed at: decreasing the use of antibiotics, decrease the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and ultimately improve patient care. As a result of our efforts, our quality data already demonstrates a reduction in antibiotic usage trends at the local level.”

For example, as a result of the organization’s targeted work in appropriate antibiotic usage, the prescribing of antibiotics for bronchitis has dropped from 35 percent to 0 percent in one year. According to the Muskie School, two million people in the United States are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, with more than 20,000 deaths each year as a result. 
Based on this data, Butler said that without this commitment at the local and national level, by 2050, more people will die from superbugs than from cancer. To learn more about antibiotic use, visit

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