Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report shines a spotlight on Health care-Associated Infections and what can be done to prevent them. Hospitals are working hard to eliminate infections and keep patients safe. And while we are making progress, our ultimate goal is to get to zero.

One way hospitals are addressing these critical infections is through Antibiotic Stewardship Programs. Hospitals are reviewing the use of antibiotics so that they are used only when necessary to deter the development of new antibiotic resistance. According to a 2015 American Society of Health-System Pharmacist National Survey on antimicrobial stewardship programs, 65 percent of hospitals have implemented an antimicrobial stewardship program, up from 45 percent in 2010.

The AHA through our Physician Leadership Forum issued a toolkit that looks at some of the proven effective strategies that encourage the appropriate use of antibiotics such as:

  • Creating a stewardship program or enhancing an existing one including the core elements, such as leadership commitment, accountability, expertise, tracking and monitoring and education; and
  • Educating patients about why an antibiotic may or may not be called for in specific situations, prescribing them only when necessary.

It will take everyone working together, physicians, hospitals and patients, to reduce these infections and ensure the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics.