When patients take too many unnecessary antibiotics it inches us ever closer to a world where essential drugs are no longer effective. More than two million people in the United States develop antibiotic resistant infection each year and some 23,000 of them die as a result. Yet understanding the origins of the problem remains a challenge. We still do not have a clear picture of physician prescribing practices nor where resistance is emerging at hospitals and within communities across the country. In part this is because it remains so time-consuming for healthcare workers to collect such information and to analyze it. Right now, only a small pool of data is passed along to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about what drugs are prescribed and when antibiotic resistant infections develop. There is no comprehensive data listing when such infections may have been acquired outside of the hospital or any strong baseline data indicating antibiotic resistance in specific cities or regions.
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