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, and patients who are exposed to unnecessary antibiotics are at risk of serious side effects like adverse drug reactions or the development of Clostridium difficile infections. Misuse of antibiotics also contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant infections.
Improving antibiotic use plays an important role in promoting patient safety. The development of healthcare 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. Antibiotic stewardship programs also play a critical role in reducing unintended consequences of antibiotics such as development of C. Difficile and antibiotic resistance.
The toolkit and resources below will assist hospitals and health systems in their efforts to promote antibiotic stewardship through the development of institutional antibiotic stewardship programs.