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CDC Antibiotic Use Report Highlights Essential Hospital Stewardship

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted antibiotic stewardship efforts at two essential hospitals in “Antibiotic Use in the United States: Progress and Opportunities, 2018 Update.”

This follow-up to a 2017 report on the state of antibiotic use includes data, programs, and resources to help clinicians improve antibiotic use, protect patients from harmful unnecessary use, and combat antibiotic resistance. The agency identifies several areas for improvement, including:

  • improving antibiotic prescribing in outpatient settings for common respiratory conditions;
  • reducing nonessential fluoroquinolone prescribing for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and respiratory conditions;
  • reducing antibiotic course duration for patients with sinus infections and hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia;
  • improving antibiotic selection for children; and
  • reducing adverse drug events.

The report also includes case studies of successful antibiotic stewardship initiatives. Association member Atrium Health, in Charlotte, N.C., in 2013 launched an Antibiotic Support Network comprising pharmacists and physicians who advise medical and pharmacy staff on selection, dosage, and duration of antibiotic therapy. Atrium’s efforts have expanded to include a 28-hospital antibiotic stewardship collaborative, an outpatient stewardship program, and a Got Germs? marketing campaign. The system’s stewardship efforts reduced broad-spectrum antibiotic use by an average of 15 to 20 percent.

Additionally, association member Denver Health joined the Colorado Hospital Association’s Acute Care Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborative to improve diagnosis and treatment of inpatient UTIs, along with skin and soft tissue infections. Collaborative members reduced the use of fluoroquinolones for UTIs, use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for skin infections, and treatment durations for skin infections.

To aid organizations in launching programs of their own, the CDC in 2018 released a guide to launching antibiotic stewardship programs in resource-limited settings, along with a four-part online antibiotic stewardship training course for health care providers. The online training provides up to eight hours of continuing education and fulfills Merit-based Incentive Payment System Improvement Activities Measures.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.

About the Author

Emily Schweich is a communications manager at America's Essential Hospitals.

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