Utilization of the Antibiogram in Clinical Practice


Educational Overview


Antimicrobial-resistant bacterial infections are a challenging problem in the hospital setting. Infections caused by resistant- and multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria not only increase morbidity and mortality, but also increase overall healthcare costs, primarily by prolonging hospital length of stay. In situations when hospital-acquired infections do occur, the preponderance of MDR bacteria as the causative pathogen challenges clinicians in selecting appropriate therapy and treatment regimens. Inappropriate therapy can have significant clinical and economic consequences. Inappropriate antimicrobial selection also has the potential to increase the risk for resistance development.

Understanding the epidemiology and emerging resistance trends at the local (institutional) level is essential for effective clinical decision-making, infection control interventions, and antimicrobial-resistance containment strategies. Hospital antibiograms can be an essential tool to monitor local epidemiology and emerging resistance trends. Antibiograms, if generated and utilized appropriately, can monitor resistance at healthcare facilities by reporting susceptibility rates of common pathogens over a period of time (usually 1 year). They can, therefore, serve as an invaluable guide in selecting appropriate empiric therapy and influence institutional antimicrobial use policies.

To address the challenges associated with resistant bacterial infections, healthcare professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, epidemiologists, infection control, and clinical microbiologists, must have the skills to appropriately use antibiograms during the clinical decision-making process. This necessitates

  • Raising awareness of antibiograms
  • Generating and distributing an accurate antibiogram
  • Interpreting antibiogram results to guide empiric therapy

In response to these needs, this online modular self-study continuing education initiative "Bugs vs Drugs: Utilization of the Antibiogram in Clinical Practice" has been developed to help hospital clinicians increase their competence in the appropriate generation and utilization of antibiograms to guide selection of empiric antimicrobial therapy.


This resource, through various multimedia educational platforms, aims to provide healthcare professionals specific tools and strategies on utilizing the antibiogram in clinical practice.

  • What are antibiograms?
  • How are antibiograms generated?
  • How should you read an antibiogram?
  • What supplemental analyses should you look for?
  • How can antibiograms guide you in choosing effective combination therapy?
  • How can you address the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance by using antibiograms?


Modules provide guidance and evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to antibiograms. Experts explain Guidelines, discuss clinical application of recommendations, and share their own clinical experience.


By simulating real world antibiograms and clinical cases, Case Exercises help reinforce scientific principles explained and demonstrated in Modules and help you translate antibiogram data to clinical decision-making.


You can share your experience and learn from the collective experience of your colleagues through Learning Community.