Help Patients Understand Inappropriate Antibiotic Use > Michigan State Medical Society


Help Patients Understand Inappropriate Antibiotic Use

According to the CDC, antibiotic use is the single most important contributing factor to antibiotic resistance, and from one-third to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is either unnecessary or inappropriate. Each year in the United States, 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written in doctors' offices, emergency rooms and hospital-based clinics. The CDC and other organizations have made improving antibiotic use and prescribing a national priority. To combat antibiotic resistance and avoid adverse drug reactions, antibiotics must be used appropriately. This means using them only if needed and, when needed, using them correctly.

Several of the Choosing Wisely society recommendations address antibiotic use.

The following free resources help clinicians and patients engage in informed conversations about when antibiotics may not be needed:

  • Antibiotics - When You Need Them and When You Don't - Patient-friendly information on when antibiotics are -- and are not -- appropriate from Consumer Reports based on specialty society recommendations
  • Choosing Wisely Society Recommendations - Choosing Wisely specialty society partners have collectively published nearly 40 recommendations aimed at educating clinicians when antibiotics may not be necessary
  • Conversations For Health - A series of interactive simulations funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) designed to help improve physician-patient communication. The Primary Care Office Tool: Antibiotics simulation allows the user to engage in practice conversations about the overuse of antibiotics.
  • Physician Communication Modules - A series of interactive instructional modules, developed in partnership with the Drexel University College of Medicine, to enhance physician and patient communication around specialty society recommendations from the Choosing Wisely campaign, including when antibiotics should or should not be prescribed.


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