Skip to main content

Antibiotic Resistance and Hospital Outpatients

  • Synopsis: Published: 2013-04-20 (Revised/Updated 2015-03-31) - Study concludes problems with antibiotic resistance faced by outpatients may be as bad as those in hospitalized patients. For further information pertaining to this article contact: David Stauth.
Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance - Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; in other words, the bacteria are "resistant" and continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing phenomenon in contemporary medicine and has emerged as one of the eminent public health concerns of the 21st century, particularly as it pertains to pathogenic organisms (the term is not especially relevant to organisms which don't cause disease in humans).

Main Document

Quote: "Hospitals for some time have been producing what are called antibiograms, a compilation of data to provide insights into local problems with antibiotic resistance"

A new study concludes that problems with antibiotic resistance faced by outpatients may be as bad as those in hospitalized patients, and that more studies of outpatients are needed - both to protect their health and to avoid inappropriate or unnecessary drug use.

Antibiotic resistance is a huge and growing problem in both hospital and outpatient settings. Failure to select an effective antibiotic, without appropriate consideration for this resistance, can increase the risk of continued illness or death.

While 126 million prescriptions a year for antimicrobial drugs are given to people outside of hospitals, less has been done with them, compared to inpatients, to monitor their levels of antibiotic resistance.

The new analysis examined more than 16,000 cultures for resistance to some commonly used antibiotics. It found that outpatients can face resistance issues that sometimes are similar to those of people in hospitals - but that these problems can also be either more or less severe.

The findings were reported in Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease by researchers from Oregon State University, Oregon Health and Science University, and Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

"Hospitals for some time have been producing what are called antibiograms, a compilation of data to provide insights into local problems with antibiotic resistance," said Jessina McGregor, assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy, who is an expert in antibiotic resistance issues and lead author on this study.

"Traditionally these findings have been shared with doctors to help them select the best antibiotics for their patients' infections," she said. "However, in many outpatient settings this same level of information has not been available. We found there are enough differences that we need to start doing more studies with the outpatient groups, in order to help doctors provide patients with the best possible care for their infections, and prevent the spread of resistance."

The researchers also noted that more than half of all antibiotics prescribed to outpatients for acute respiratory infections are unnecessary. This can speed the resistance of bacteria to antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotic resistance historically began to show up in hospitals before it was found in the larger community, researchers say. Because of this, hospitals have been more aggressive in working to monitor, understand and prevent unnecessary antibiotic use.

As patient records increasingly become electronic, both in the hospital and in outpatient clinics, it will be possible for more health care systems to produce outpatient antibiograms, McGregor said, and that will be "a step in the right direction."

The College of Pharmacy prepares students of today to be the pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical sciences researchers of tomorrow by contributing to improved health, advancing patient care and the discovery and understanding of medicines.

Related Information:

  1. Antibiotic Resistant Disease ESBL Killing People - Health officials watch with apprehension as the antibiotic resistant bacteria ESBL continues to kill both people and pigs in Denmark - (Published 2009-01-18).
  2. Antibiotic Resistance Increasing Evidence - Soil microbes have become progressively more resistant to antibiotics over the last 60 years - (Published 2010-03-03).


Information from our Rehabilitation & Hospitals: Health & Disability Information section - (Full List).

E-Newsletter

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be. Also see information on blood group types and compatibility.


  1. New Details on Aged Brain, Alzheimer's and Dementia Revealed
  2. FDA Issues Guidance on Generic Abuse-Deterrent Opioid Development
  3. Getting a Job with a Disability - Infographic with Transcript
  4. New Sports and Disciplines for Paris 2024 Paralympics




Citation