feverThe CDC and The Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with 12 national health organizations, released a joint letter earlier this month on the importance of antibiotic stewardship in outpatient settings. Outpatient stewardship refers to coordinated efforts to promote appropriate prescribing of antibiotics for non-hospitalized patients in clinics, doctor’s offices, and emergency rooms. The overarching goal is to promote adherence to clinical practice guidelines to provide the best standard of care and to minimize the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Recently published data shows that healthcare providers in private offices and emergency rooms overprescribe antibiotics. According to the article, at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary. This shows the need for expanding current antibiotic stewardship efforts, fill current research gaps around effective interventions for improving prescribing habits, and helping healthcare professionals and patients use antibiotics appropriately in outpatient settings.

Our Healthcare-Associated Infection Program is committed to support this collaborative effort by increasing awareness on the importance of outpatient antibiotic stewardship. The program works closely with a multidisciplinary HAI Advisory Committee and subcommittees to identify and address priority areas for Arizona and to help with resources and information. You can visit preventhaiaz.gov to learn more about how the program is working to promote antibiotic stewardship.

Also be on the lookout for future messaging about our Department’s partnership with CDC’s Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 14 through 20. This is an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use.