Is Physician Education Effective in Promoting Antibiotic Stewardship?

Inappropriate prescribing is a major contributor to drug-resistant bacterial infections, a problem linked to approximately 90,000 deaths every year. It is estimated that between 40 to 50 percent of patients seeking medical attention for respiratory infections receive antibiotics from their clinician even though most of these infections are viral and will not respond to antibiotic treatment.

In this new policy brief, Extending the Cure (ETC) summarizes the latest research about the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing doctor’s over-prescribing of antibiotics. Interventions that combine physician, patient, and community education are found to be the most successful at reducing antibiotic prescribing, according to ETC researchers. Other strategies examined in the brief include the use of incentives and systems to mandate appropriate prescribing, including clinician reminders and prescription review.

Extending the Cure, a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, works to find policy solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance.