Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

Antibiotic stewardship

Antibiotics are powerful tools that have enabled health care providers to readily treat otherwise deadly infections. Prompt initiation of antibiotics significantly improves patient outcomes. However, research has demonstrated that many antibiotics prescribed are either unnecessary or inappropriate. Patients who are exposed to unnecessary antibiotics are at risk of serious side effects, such as adverse drug reactions or Clostridiodies difficile infections (CDI). Misuse of antibiotics also contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant infections.  

Improving antibiotic use plays an important role in promoting patient safety. Developing health care facility-based programs dedicated to improving antibiotic use – known as antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) – supports the goal of providing the right antibiotics, at the right time, at the right dose, for the right duration for every antibiotic prescription. ASPs also play a critical role in reducing unintended consequences of antibiotics, such as development of CDI and antibiotic resistance.    

These resources help hospitals and health systems promote antibiotic stewardship through the creation of institutional ASPs.