New Data Aids the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

November 30, 2023 · Andy Reynolds

We’ve updated our Responsible Stewards of Antibiotic Use program by adding 2 years of health plan data.

That makes the program even more valuable and effective in helping health care professionals manage antibiotic use.

The Responsible Stewards of Antibiotic Use program:

  • Shares how health plans promote appropriate antibiotic prescribing.
  • Highlights health plans that perform well on three HEDIS® antibiotic use measures.
  • Is an opportunity for health plans to learn more through our antibiotic-focused education programs.

Get our latest insight and advice on antibiotic resistance.

New Findings, New Guidance

The refreshed information includes:

  • Health plans we identified as responsible stewards of antibiotic use from 2020 to 2022—plus lessons from those plans’ success.
  • Insight into trends of antibiotic use, beginning in measurement year 2020.
  • New resources highlighting emerging research on antibiotic stewardship.

And our education programs offer free continuing education credits.

The Big Picture

Inappropriate antibiotic use:

  • Is a long-standing public health problem. That’s why we write about it often.
  • Can expose patients to medication side-effects and lead to antibiotic resistance—where drugs designed to kill germs like bacteria no longer work.
  • Is more common than you might think. The CDC reports that about 35,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections. To give some perspective, that’s roughly in the middle between the number of people who die from homicide (23,000) and suicide (48,000).

Health plans:

  • Play an important role in promoting appropriate antibiotic use.
  • Can develop programs to support better prescribing practices.
  • Can educate members about illnesses that call for an antibiotic—or don’t.

Quality measures help health plans in those efforts.

HEDIS includes antibiotic prescribing measures for three illnesses that are the main cause of inappropriate prescribing:

  • Bronchitis/bronchiolitis.
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat).
  • Upper respiratory infection.

The measures help plans identify, highlight and monitor appropriate prescribing.

Learn more about our Responsible Stewards of Antibiotic Use program.

And if you meet someone from The Pew Charitable Trusts Antibiotic Resistance Project, thank them for supporting this important work.

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