Improve Antibiotic Use

The Issue

Each year in the United States, at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths can be attributed to antibiotic-resistant infections.

While antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in health care settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.


Plan an Evidence-Based Intervention

Following is the intervention to improve antibiotic use identified by the CDC as having a proven evidence base for improving health outcomes and controlling health care costs:

  • Require antibiotic stewardship programs in all hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, in alignment with CDC’s Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs and The Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes.
  • Improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing by incentivizing providers to follow CDC’s Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship.

Evidence Summary: Improve Antibiotic Use

Download the CDC’s evidence summary that outlines key cost and health information for payers and providers, as well as demonstrated outcomes for the above intervention.

Explore Implementation Resources

The following resources can help payers, state officials, and providers to implement high-opportunity interventions aimed at improving antibiotic use. Does your state/program have resources to share? Send an email to

See also CDC’s antibiotic prescribing and use web page.

Filter By:
Guide/Toolkit | September 2021
Provides a framework for antibiotic stewardship, which can support payer efforts to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing.
6|18 State Spotlight | July 2020
Working together to promote the judicious use of antibiotics in outpatient settings with the goal of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing.
Technical Assistance Tool | July 2020
Describes metrics that state Medicaid and public health agency partners can use to evaluate and target opportunities to improve antibiotic prescribing practices.
Guide/Toolkit | July 2018
Provides a collection of implementation strategies, suggestions, and tools that can be used by outpatient healthcare providers and leaders to implement the Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship.
Guide/Toolkit | April 2018
Details practical opportunities for implementing CDC’s Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship in adult and pediatric emergency department and urgent care settings.
Video | January 2018
Features experts who discuss efforts to measure and improve antibiotic prescribing through stewardship, lessons learned from improving antibiotic use in pediatrics, and what providers and health systems can do to improve use among adults.
Engagement/Education Material | September 2017
Provides information on antibiotic resistance, and appropriate prescribing and use. Target audiences include healthcare professionals, adults, parents of young children, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Spanish speakers.
Technical Assistance Tool | September 2017
Shares state-by-state statistics on antibiotic resistance, healthcare-associated infections, outpatient antibiotic use, and inpatient antibiotic stewardship.
Technical Assistance Tool | January 2017
Collects details on the status of implementing antibiotic stewardship programs in long-term care facilities.
Brief/Report | November 2016
Outlines an antibiotic stewardship framework for outpatient clinicians and facilities that routinely provide antibiotic treatment, and augments existing guidance for other clinical settings.
Technical Assistance Tool | January 2015
Provides a framework for implementing antibiotic stewardship programs in resource-limited health care settings, based on expert opinion and experiences in implementing these programs in the U.S. and globally.
Technical Assistance Tool | January 2015
Provides guidance on practical strategies to implement antibiotic stewardship programs in small and critical access hospitals, based on discussions with staff in these care settings.
Technical Assistance Tool | January 2015
Adapts the CDC’s Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs into practical opportunities to initiate or expand antibiotic stewardship activities in nursing homes. It includes a companion checklist.
Technical Assistance Tool | January 2015
Summarizes elements of successful hospital antibiotic stewardship programs. It includes a checklist that can be used to ensure optimal antibiotic prescribing and limit overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
Journal Article | June 2013
Evaluates the effect of an antimicrobial stewardship intervention on antibiotic prescribing for pediatric outpatients. 
Interactive Map
Features an interactive map that highlights resources developed by states and territories on controlling and responding to infectious disease outbreaks in healthcare settings.
Technical Assistance Tool
Provides six actionable steps that states and local health departments can take to implement antibiotic stewardship, includes case studies from eight states that have successfully implemented these activities.
Engagement/Education Material
Provides online training with continuing education that is designed to inform healthcare professionals about proper antibiotic prescribing and encourage open discussion among physicians and patients.
Website/Resource Center
Offers tools for state health agencies on controlling and responding to infectious disease risks in healthcare settings, including a wide range of national and state-level resources. 
Website/Resource Center
Includes information and resources about a national effort to help fight antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic prescribing and use.
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