Infection Control Experts Announce Recommendations to Reduce Overuse in Medicine

SHEA Joins Leading Health and Healthcare Organizations in Choosing Wisely® Campaign

ARLINGTON, VA (October  1, 2015) – Today the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), released a list of five practices to avoid for better infection prevention and control and safer care as part of the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely® campaign. The recommendations can support conversations between patients and physicians about what care is really necessary.

SHEA identified the five following recommendations:

  • Don’t continue antibiotics beyond 72 hours in hospitalized patients unless the patient has a clear evidence of infection.
  • Avoid invasive devices (including central venous catheters, endotracheal tubes and urinary catheters) and, if required, use no longer than necessary. They pose a major risk for infections.
  • Don’t perform urinalysis, urine culture, blood culture or difficile testing unless patients have signs or symptoms of infection. Tests can be falsely positive leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
  • Don’t use antibiotics in patients with recent difficile without convincing evidence of need. Antibiotics pose a high risk of C. difficile recurrence.
  • Don’t continue surgical prophylactic antibiotics after the patient has left the operating room.

“Fighting antibiotic resistance while improving the quality of care requires an all hands on deck approach,” said Anthony Harris, MD, MPH, President of the SHEA Board of Trustees. “We all have a role to play in making healthcare safer and using antibiotics appropriately. By joining this effort, we hope to start meaningful conversations between healthcare providers and patients.”

SHEA’s Choosing Wisely list was developed through careful consideration and review. A comprehensive list of recommendations was collected from members of the SHEA Guidelines, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Antibiotic Stewardship, Education, and Publications Committees with input from the SHEA Research Network. The five final recommendations were formally approved by the SHEA Guidelines Committee and Board of Trustees.

“Conversations about what care patients truly need is a shared responsibility among all members of the health care team,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “SHEA’s Choosing Wisely list will help frontline medical staff across the country engage their patients in a dialogue about what care is best for them, and what we can do to reduce waste and overuse in our health care system.”

To date, more than 100 national and state medical specialty societies, regional health collaboratives and consumer partners have joined the conversation about appropriate care. With the release of this new list, the campaign will have covered more than 400 tests and procedures that the specialty society partners say are overused and inappropriate, and that physicians and patients should discuss.

The campaign also continues to reach millions of consumers nationwide through a stable of consumer and advocacy partners, led by Consumer Reports—the world’s largest independent product-testing organization—which has worked with the ABIM Foundation to distribute patient-friendly resources for consumers and physicians to engage in these important conversations.

To learn more about Choosing Wisely and to view the complete lists and additional detail about the recommendations and evidence supporting them, visit or go to


About the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
SHEA is a professional society representing physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world with expertise and passion in healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. SHEA’s mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections, improve the use of antibiotics in healthcare settings, and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA improves patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings through the critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology and improved antibiotic use.  The society leads this specialty by promoting science and research, advocating for effective policies, providing high-quality education and training, and developing appropriate guidelines and guidance in practice. Visit SHEA online at, and @SHEA_Epi.


About the ABIM Foundation
The mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policy makers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit, read our blog, connect with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


About Choosing Wisely®
First announced in December 2011, Choosing Wisely® is part of a multi-year effort led by the ABIM Foundation to support and engage physicians in being better stewards of finite health care resources. Participating specialty societies are working with the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports to share the lists widely with their members and convene discussions about the physician’s role in helping patients make wise choices. Learn more at