Antibiotics have saved millions of lives since the discovery of penicillin in 1928. However, the overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance, which happens when bacteria develop the ability to survive antibiotic treatments.

Each year in the United States at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and nearly 23,000 people die as a direct result of infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to public health. In recognition of National Pharmacy Week, HCA Healthcare Pharmacy is raising awareness about this issue through research initiatives and partnerships with public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), promoting the safe and efficient use of antibiotics, and providing tips to prevent antibiotic resistance.

What you can do to prevent antibiotic resistance

In addition to consulting your pharmacist, HCA Healthcare Pharmacy offers some ways we can all do our part in antibiotic stewardship.

  1. Avoid using antibiotics for the treatment of viral infections, including colds.
  2. Only use antibiotics when they have been prescribed for you.
  3. Use antibiotics exactly as directed by your physician and complete the entire course of medicine.
  4. If you have leftover antibiotics, do not share them with others.
  5. Ensure all antibiotics are disposed of properly. A local “Drug Take-Back Day” is an excellent opportunity.

Healthcare providers have many opportunities to prevent antibiotic resistance. For the patients entrusted in your care, here are a few recommendations:

  1. Follow antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention guidelines developed by your facility. These can include “time-outs” to assess the appropriateness of antibiotic therapy and hand hygiene recommendations.
  2. Ask patients about recent travel to other countries.
  3. Ask patients about any recent healthcare exposures including hospital visits and nursing care facilities.
  4. Be aware of the antibiotic resistance patterns specific to your facility by using an antibiogram.

Antibiotic stewardship is important to our own wellness and the health of others. Pharmacists support careful antibiotic use and play a major role in preventing antibiotic resistance.

HCA is working diligently to provide guidance and resources to our facilities and clinicians on ways we can help protect our patients and the public from antibiotic-resistant threats. For more information about the safe and judicial use of antibiotics, and to find out what you can do to help assure its correct use, please visit WHO: How to Reduce the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance.

HCA 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.