Appropriate Antibiotic Use

January 2022

The winter months are a great time to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 28% of outpatient-prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary. Antibiotics will not treat acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis, and misuse of antibiotics can cause unnecessary side effects and antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic prescribing is a complex issue but there are simple changes that have the potential for a big impact.

Neighborhood tracks appropriate antibiotic use among our members through the Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set (HEDIS®) rate for the Avoidance of Antibiotic Treatment for Acute Bronchitis/Bronchiolitis measure (click here for more details).

  • Note that this measure is an inverted measure so that a higher rate indicates appropriate antibiotic prescribing treatment.
  • This measure applies to members ages 3 months and older.

For measurement year 2020, Neighborhood’s rate for this measure stood at 49.00% for our Medicaid members and rated in the Medicaid Quality Compass® 25th percentile. This level of performance suggests that as many as half of all outpatient prescriptions for bronchitis and bronchiolitis might be avoided.

How Can you Help?

The CDC provides the following guidance when prescribing antibiotics:

  1. Protect your Patients: Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. For example, most acute upper respiratory infections are viral and do not require antibiotics.
  2. Follow Clinical Guidelines: When prescribing antibiotics make sure to prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, and for the right duration.
  3. Discuss Side Effects: Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, difficile, and antibiotic‐resistant infections.

To find resources that you can use to educate your patients about appropriate antibiotic use, please visit CDC Antibiotic Use.

HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Quality Compass® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)