Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are linked with increased illnesses, deaths, and healthcare costs (1, 2). Each year, about 1 in 25 US hospital patients is diagnosed with at least one infection related to hospital care. In 2011, there were approximately 722,000 HAIs in US acute care hospitals, and approximately 75,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations (2).
Many HAIs are caused by antibiotic-resistant (AR) pathogens and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), often as a consequence of inappropriate antibiotic use. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people are infected by an AR pathogen and at least 23,000 will die as a direct result of these infections (3).
More than half of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic, and 30%–50% of all antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately or are unnecessary (4). Poor prescribing practices put patients at risk for adverse reactions and also contribute to antibiotic resistance, making these drugs less likely to work in the future.