The Particulars: Antibiotic stewardship programs can oftent be a balancing act between patient needs and the rationale use of antibiotics. It has not been well defined if these programs can cut antibiotic use while positively impacting mortality and improving patient care.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers introduced an active, audit-based stewardship system at their hospital and compared 6 months of the program with the same 6 months in the preceding year, when antibiotic stewardship was based on passive guidelines. Among patients with an average age of 83, mortality rates were 13% before and during the program. However, overall antibiotic use dropped 27% after the intervention. Total antibiotic use dropped from 8,851 days to 6,464 days, and infection-related readmissions dropped from 7.4% to 4.7%.

Take Home Pearl: Active antibiotic stewardship programs appear to improve patient care and reduce antibiotic administration and duration of use when compared with passive guidelines.