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Antibiotic-Stewardship Practices at Top Academic Centers Throughout the United States and at Hospitals Throughout Massachusetts

  • Tamar F. Barlam (a1) and Margarita DiVall (a2)

Improvements in antibiotic prescribing to reduce bacterial resistance and control hospital costs is a growing priority, but the way to accomplish this is poorly defined. Our goal was to determine whether certain antibiotic stewardship interventions were universally instituted and accepted at top US academic centers and to document what interventions, if any, are used at both teaching and community hospitals within a geographic area.


Two surveys were conducted. In survey 1, detailed phone interviews were performed with the directors of antibiotic stewardship programs at 22 academic medical centers that are considered among the best for overall medical care in the United States or as leaders in antibiotic stewardship programs. In survey 2, teaching and community hospitals throughout Massachusetts were surveyed to ascertain what antibiotic oversight program components were present.


In survey 1, each of the 22 participating hospitals had instituted interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing, but none of the interventions were universally accepted as essential or effective. In survey 2, of 97 surveys that were mailed to prospective participants, a total of 54 surveys from 19 teaching hospitals and 35 community hospitals were returned. Ninety-five percent of the teaching hospitals had a restricted formulary, compared with 49% of the community hospitals, and 89% of teaching hospitals had an antibiotic approval process, compared with 29% of community hospitals.


There was great variability among the approaches to the oversight of antibiotic prescribing at major academic hospitals. Antibiotic management interventions were lacking in more than half of the Massachusetts community hospitals surveyed. More research is needed to define the best antibiotic stewardship interventions for different hospital settings.

Corresponding author
Boston University Medical Center, 771 Albany Street, Dowling 3110, Boston, MA 02118 (
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
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