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March 22/29, 2016

New Societal Approaches to Empowering Antibiotic Stewardship

Author Affiliations
  • 1Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • 3US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 4Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California at San Francisco
JAMA. 2016;315(12):1229-1230. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1346

Substantial concern regarding the ever-worsening crisis of antibiotic resistance has been raised by the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, European Medicines Agency, Institute of Medicine, World Economic Forum, and the US Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology. The question is no longer whether to act, but how.

Antibiotic stewardship is the term used to describe efforts to optimize selection of antibiotic therapy. Formal antibiotic stewardship programs are essential to help society address antimicrobial resistance by reducing the estimated more than 50% of antibiotic use that is unnecessary or inappropriate.1 The US government has recently emphasized the need for implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs at all hospitals.2 To be effective, antibiotic stewardship programs must incorporate best practices, which include dedicating sufficient resources to the program, appointing a single leader to be accountable for performance, having appropriate antibiotic expertise, implementing action plans, monitoring bacterial resistance, reporting antibiotic usage to staff, and providing education.3

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