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Effective Health Care Program

Interventions To Improve Appropriate Antibiotic Prescribing for Uncomplicated Acute Respiratory Tract Infections


This CME activity is hosted on the Baylor College of Medicine Web site (

Course Overview

In the United States, at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, causing approximately 23,000 deaths. A key factor for the increased rate of antibiotic resistance is high outpatient consumption of antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently inappropriately used for uncomplicated acute RTIs.

The factors associated with overuse of antibiotics for uncomplicated acute RTIs are numerous and diverse. These factors include patient demographics (e.g., children vs. adults); patient and clinician preferences and communication; patient expectations and physician perception of patient expectations; clinician specialty, knowledge, and experience; clinical inertia; geographic location; clinic type; availability of followup care; and feedback from infectious disease experts.

Consequently, strategies to reduce antibiotic use vary in targets and designs. Interventions include clinical strategies (e.g., use of point-of-care diagnostic tests, delayed antibiotic prescribing), system-level strategies (e.g., electronic decision support), education (e.g., strategies to improve communication between clinicians and patients, public education campaigns), and multifaceted approaches that incorporate various elements. The systematic review summarized herein assesses the effectiveness and adverse consequences of possible strategies for reducing antibiotic use in adults and children with acute RTIs.

Educational Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Describe the evidence regarding the effectiveness and adverse consequences of various strategies for reducing antibiotic use in adults and children with uncomplicated respiratory tract infections (RTIs).
  • Describe the gaps in the current evidence base and future research needs regarding the efficacy and comparative effectiveness of strategies to improve appropriate antibiotic prescribing in adults and children with uncomplicated RTI.

Target Audience

This CME activity is designed to meet the educational needs of primary care physicians, infectious disease specialists, pediatricians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals who treat children and adults with uncomplicated acute respiratory tract infections.

Method of Participation

This activity is in PDF and HTML formats and is accompanied by references linked to PubMed abstracts.

To receive a maximum of .50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ you should:

  • View the materials in this enduring material.
  • Complete the posttest (you must answer 4 out of 5 questions correctly).
  • Complete and submit the CME registration and evaluation forms.

The estimated time to complete this activity, including review of the materials, is .50 hour(s).

Accreditation/Credit Designation

Baylor College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Baylor College of Medicine designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of .50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Term of Approval

March 2016 through March 2018.

Acknowledgement of Support

This CME activity is supported by a contract, HHSA290201410015C, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.