Antibiotic Awareness Week &
Tools that Can Help

November 15, 2022 · Andy Reynolds

As follow-up to our previous blog post about antibiotic resistance, we wanted to let you know November 18-24 is Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Here’s why antibiotic resistance matters and what you can do about this persistent public health threat.

A Major League Baseball Stadium, Every Year

Antibiotic resistance means bacteria become immune to drugs designed to kill them. That can happen when antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed or misused.

PEW Charitable Trusts and the CDC report that about 30% of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessarily prescribed. That helps bacteria become antibiotic-resistant. Such bacteria cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the US each year.

That means antibiotic resistance kills the equivalent of all the fans in the stands at a Major League Baseball game, every year. 

Antibiotic resistance also adds to health costs. According to the CDC, in the United States alone, antibiotic resistance leads to nearly $20 billion in excess healthcare costs a year.

Models to Follow, Tools to Help

A new NCQA website adds two key resources in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

  • An “Honor Roll”: A handy list of health plans whose antibiotics management is effective and worth emulating.
  • A How-To Toolkit: Webinars and written summaries that outline best practices, trends and lessons about savvy stewardship of antibiotics.

The toolkit is where health care leaders who are serious about antibiotic stewardship turn to:

  1. Watch our recent webinars about smart prescribing of antibiotics.
  2. Learn how practices use HEDIS to improve their antibiotics stewardship.
  3. Learn how to explain to patients and providers about appropriate antibiotic prescribing and the dangers of inappropriate prescribing.
  4. Learn how health plans can collaborate with local and state governments to promote responsible use of antibiotics.

We thank the PEW Charitable Trusts for helping NCQA bring attention to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

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