Antimicrobial Stewardship in Colorado

Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed by clinicians and used by patients. Improving antibiotic prescribing and use is critical to effectively treat infections, protect patients from harms caused by unnecessary antibiotic use, and combat antibiotic resistance. These programs improve the treatment of infections and reduce negative events and the overuse of antibiotics. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) supports antibiotic stewardship by providing effective interventions, treatment guidelines, resources, and support for reporting antibiotic use to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).


case banner with microbe images
childrens and cdphe logos

In 2021, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment partnered with Children’s Hospital Colorado to start the Colorado Antimicrobial Stewardship Endeavor (CASE). CASE includes physicians, pharmacists, and epidemiologists who provide mentorship and resources to Colorado hospitals that may be new to antibiotic stewardship. CASE provides workshops, consultations, and office hours for hospital antimicrobial stewardship programs. For more information about CASE and how your program can be involved, please visit the CASE webpage.



CDPHE uses a data driven approach that is founded in the principles and best practices of epidemiology, public health, infection prevention, and medicine for all of our stewardship efforts. Data demonstrating trends in stewardship, resistant organisms, and healthcare-associated infections can be found on the HAI data webpage.
We updated the data reporting engagement with the Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship in Colorado hospitals for 2021. In 2021, all core elements were met by 100% of acute care hospitals and 87% of critical access hospitals in Colorado. Use the clickable image below to find additional details, such as visualization of trends over time and core elements. 

CDC updated its Antibiotic Resistance and Patient Safety Portal to include Antimicrobial Stewardship trends nationwide and Colorado. This site includes interactive graphs and reports of inpatient and outpatient antibiotic use. 

CDPHE joins CDC in a national effort to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance by asking Colorado health care providers to Be Antibiotics Aware. This year U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2022. CDPHE is participating by providing updated data and resources on the appropriate use of antimicrobials.


CDPHE supports stewardship in skilled nursing facilities/nursing homes with tools and resources. CDC provides a framework for antimicrobial stewardship with the Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes. Nurses and members of a care team can use these resources to support antimicrobial stewardship in nursing homes. 

The LTCF Respiratory Viruses and Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit contains links to key resources to support antimicrobial stewardship when respiratory viruses are prevalent.

CDPHE’s Antibiotic Tracking Tool for LTCF. CDPHE’s Antibiotic Tracking Tool for LTCF. Please utilize this tool within Google Sheets to track antibiotic usage and infection types among residents. If you need to work with an Excel file of the tool, please email us with your request. 

Antibiotic Time-Out Checklist - Use this checklist can be utilized to take a Time-Out to reassess appropriateness of an antibiotic within 48-72 hours after the antibiotic start date.

Suspected Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Action Tool - This resource can guide nursing staff in the initial evaluation of possible UTI in residents without a urinary catheter.

Talking with Residents and Family Members about Antibiotics - AHRQ. This resource provides communication examples for care team staff when discussing UTIs and appropriate use of antibiotics with residents and family members.

The Core Elements of Antimicrobial Stewardship are a framework for antimicrobial stewardship across healthcare settings. Below are a series of resources for support and development of antimicrobial stewardship programs to perform action, tracking, and reporting within the Core Elements.

CDC’s Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

Additional implementation resources

Antimicrobial Stewardship resources

Facility-specific clinical practice guidelines serve as a gold standard for antibiotic selection and duration of therapy and are a foundation for antibiotic stewardship program actions. Recommendations should be based on national guidelines but should reflect hospital treatment preferences based on local susceptibilities, treatment options, and patient mix. Facility-specific guidelines should address common indications for antibiotic use, including community-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infection, skin and soft tissue infection, intra-abdominal infection, and surgical prophylaxis.

Because hospitals may have limited resources for antibiotic stewardship, it is important for antimicrobial stewardship programs to prioritize actions that are most likely to improve antibiotic use. Some actions that are recommended by evidence-based guidelines include:

  • Prospective audit with feedback: An external review of antibiotic therapy by a member of the antibiotic stewardship team, accompanied by suggestions to optimize use, at some point after the agent has been prescribed.
  • Handshake stewardship: Rounding-based review of antibiotic therapies by the antibiotic stewardship team with in-person suggestions to optimize use.
  • Preauthorization: Prescribers gain approval prior to the use of certain antibiotics designated by the antibiotic stewardship team.

Measurement is critical to identify opportunities for improvement and to assess the impact of interventions. Measurement of antibiotic stewardship interventions may involve evaluation of both processes and outcomes. A priority metric for antibiotic use is antibiotic days of therapy (DOT). A DOT is the total number of days for which a specific antibiotic is given. It is usually expressed as a rate per 1,000 patient-days or days present and can be stratified by location of prescription or antibiotic class. Antibiotic use data can also be used to provide feedback to prescribers. The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) offers an Antibiotic Use and Resistance Module that allows hospitals to track antibiotic DOT in their facility against national benchmarks and submit data to inform public health priorities. Learn more about tracking antibiotic use from the resources below.

Antibiotic resistance is a public health threat and a key motivator of antibiotic stewardship. Reporting antibiotic resistance can inform public health priorities, provide targets for antibiotic stewardship in hospitals, and give clinicians information necessary to prescribe appropriate antibiotics for patients. In Colorado, clinical laboratories and health care providers are required to report certain organisms found to be resistant to certain antibiotics to public health. More information about diseases that must be reported and how to report to public health can be found at

hai case data graphic from the cdc

See select resources below designed to boost the expertise of antibiotic stewardship program staff and provide education to prescribers and patients.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program


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