Antimicrobial Stewardship

You can have too much of a good thing.

While antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine and saved countless lives, according to the CDC, 20 to 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. Their side effects, including adverse drug reactions, antibiotic resistance and C. diff, can cause unnecessary harm.

Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

It’s crucial for health care providers to be responsible stewards of powerful antibiotics. Many hospitals have launched Antibiotic Stewardship Programs (ASPs), which the CDC states have the ability to:

  • Optimize the treatment of infections and reduce adverse effects associated with antibiotic use
  • Improve the quality of care
  • Improve patient safety through increased infection cure rates
  • Reduce hospital rates of CDI and antibiotic resistance
  • Decrease costs for hospitals


  • Antibiotic Stewardship Core Elements for Small Hospitals Available: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a document providing guidance on practical strategies to implement antibiotic stewardship programs in small and critical access hospitals.  It was developed as a collaboration between the CDC, the American Hospital Association, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The suggestions provided are based on discussions with staff in small and critical access hospitals, several of which have implemented all of the CDC Core Elements For more information, view the CDC website or view the core elements document here

  • The CDC offers a wide range of antimicrobial stewardship resources, including an examination of the elements that constitute successful ASPs.
  • HRET's HIIN offers its own antimicrobial stewardship toolkit.
  • American Hospital Association has compiled a toolkit with separate resources for hospitals and health systems, clinicians and patients. ​