Accreditation

Cold weather and drug resistance; tracking seasonal changes in antibiotic misuse

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, August 1, 2018

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Outpatient antibiotic overuse peaks and valleys throughout the year

This March, a team of experts working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on antibiotic prescription habits in outpatient facilities. The study, published in the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology journal, showed that there are seasonal trends in prescriptions, with most antibiotics prescribed during winter months. 

The study also found that antibiotic misuse continues to be a problem, writing that “the lack of any apparent change in utilization over the course of this study may support the findings of other studies suggesting that professional guidelines may not be the most effective form of influencing provider actions.”

The study authors say their findings suggest that "current initiatives to improve the use of antibiotics in outpatient settings may not be enough to change clinicians’ prescribing practices." And they feel clinicians must be better equipped "with the tools and knowledge to know when antibiotics are needed."

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