Why is Antimicrobial Stewardship Important?

Hospital–acquired infections, due to organisms such as C. difficile and multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in the institutional healthcare setting and dramatically increase healthcare costs.  Many of these infections are the consequence of inappropriate antimicrobial use.  It is estimated that up to 50% of antimicrobial use in hospitals is unnecessary.  Inadequate infection control measures and the transmission of hospital or community-acquired infections contribute to the issue of antimicrobial resistance in our healthcare institutions.  Compounding the problem is the paucity of new antimicrobials in the research and development pipeline.  Optimizing patient outcomes, while minimizing unintended consequences of antimicrobial use, through active stewardship is an important strategy to preserve these precious resources.

Antimicrobial Stewardship will also now be an Accreditation Canada Required Organizational Practice for Canadian acute-care hospitals seeking accreditation in the upcoming accreditation cycle.

"But I would like to sound a note of warning ... It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body."
- Sir Alexander Fleming, 1945

"In 2000, Nobel Laureate Dr. Joshua Lederberg wrote in the journal Science that "the future of humanity and microbes will likely evolve as episodes ... of our wits versus their genes."  In only 12 years since Dr. Lederberg wrote these prescient words, the world has witnessed an enormous expansion of infections resistant to antibacterial agents ("antibiotics")".

Please view our Why is Antimicrobial Stewardship Important? YouTube video.