Strategies to Prevent and Control the Emergence and Spread of Antimicrobial-Resistant Microorganisms in Hospitals. A challenge to hospital leadership

JAMA. 1996 Jan 17;275(3):234-40.


Objective: To provide hospital leaders with strategic goals or actions likely to have a significant impact on antimicrobial resistance, outline outcome and process measures for evaluating progress toward each goal, describe potential barriers to success, and suggest countermeasures and novel improvement strategies.

Participants: A multidisciplinary group of experts was drawn from the following areas: hospital epidemiology and infection control, infectious diseases (including graduate training programs), clinical practice (including nursing, surgery, internal medicine, and pediatrics), pharmacy, administration, quality improvement, appropriateness evaluation, behavior modification, practice guideline development, medical informatics, and outcomes research. Representatives from appropriate federal agencies, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry also participated.

Evidence: Published literature, guidelines, expert opinion, and practical experience regarding efforts to improve antibiotic utilization and prevent and control the emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms in hospitals.

Consensus process: Participants were divided into two quality improvement teams: one focusing on improving antimicrobial usage and the other on preventing and controlling transmission of resistant microorganisms. The teams modeled the process a hospital might use to develop and implement a strategic plan to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Conclusions: Ten strategic goals and related process and outcome measures were agreed on. The five strategic goals to optimize antimicrobial use were as follows: optimizing antimicrobial prophylaxis for operative procedures; optimizing choice and duration of empiric therapy; improving antimicrobial prescribing by educational and administrative means; monitoring and providing feedback regarding antibiotic resistance; and defining and implementing health care delivery system guidelines for important types of antimicrobial use. The five strategic goals to detect, report, and prevent transmission of antimicrobial resistant organisms were as follows: to develop a system to recognize and report trends in antimicrobial resistance within the institution; develop a system to rapidly detect and report resistant microorganisms in individual patients and ensure a rapid response by caregivers; increase adherence to basic infection control policies and procedures; incorporate the detection, prevention, and control of antimicrobial resistance into institutional strategic goals and provide the required resources; and develop a plan for identifying, transferring, discharging, and readmitting patients colonized with specific antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents