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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign?

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Division of Patient Safety and Quality has initiated the Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign to promote judicious antibiotic use (i.e., antibiotic stewardship) across the state. The campaign is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Get Smart program and aims to:

  • Increase healthcare provider and patient knowledge related to antibiotic resistance and appropriate prescribing
  • Provide resources to support healthcare providers in improving antibiotic prescribing, particularly for acute respiratory infections (ARIs) evaluated in outpatient settings
  • Increase coordination and exchange of antibiotic stewardship best practices among stakeholders

Why does IDPH have a campaign on appropriate antibiotic use?

Antibiotics are often overused or misused across the healthcare spectrum. Among office-based physicians, three quarters of all antibiotics prescribed are for upper respiratory infections and antibiotics are often used unnecessarily or inappropriately. Antibiotic overuse and misuse has led to increased antibiotic resistance, rendering bacteria less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. The White House, CDC, and other groups have identified antibiotic resistance as an urgent threat to patient safety and public health requiring immediate and concerted action. Improving the use of antibiotics is a key strategy to fighting antibiotic resistance.

Who is the target audience for the campaign?

The Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign currently targets healthcare providers practicing in outpatient settings (e.g., primary care clinics, community health centers, urgent care clinics).  If your outpatient facility is interested in participating in the campaign, sign up by:

  1. Completing a Facility Interest Form, typically completed by the site leader (e.g., Medical Director), practice manager, or other facility point of contact.  See participating facilities here.
  2. Completing a Provider Commitment Form, completed by each individual provider at the participating facility. 

In the future, the campaign will also target patients and the general public.  

How long is the campaign and what are the campaign activities?

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Dependent on funding, we envision multiple phases of the campaign and anticipate that this will be a multiyear effort.
Interested providers will: 
In addition, participating facilities are encouraged to track data on provider antibiotic prescribing, to augment the facility’s quality improvement activities and to assist us in evaluating campaign impact.

What is the commitment poster all about?

A core part of participating in the Precious Drug & Scary Bugs Campaign is use of a public commitment poster displayed in examination rooms.  This is a poster-sized (18 x 24) commitment letter that indicates the provider’s commitment to prescribing antibiotics judiciously, as evidenced by the providers’ photograph and signature on  the poster.  IDPH has  developed a template and will work with the point of contact at each facility to customize. 
Use of personalized public commitment posters tested in a randomized control trial resulted in a 19.7% decrease in inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory infections in five participating outpatient primary care clinics.  This low-cost approach has great potential to enhance quality improvement efforts around antibiotic use. 

Is there a cost for the campaign?

IDPH is currently covering the costs of printing posters for facilities, but this is dependent on funding.  Facilities that opt to monitor antibiotic prescribing and provide aggregate data to IDPH will receive priority consideration for poster printing.  

What is the time commitment for participating in the campaign?

Campaign activities require minimal amounts of time, as indicated below.

  • Campaign sign-up: 
    • Facility Interest Form (~ 5 minutes, online):  Completed by the leader of each practice (e.g., Medical Director) to help IDPH coordinate logistics. 
    • Provider Commitment Form (~ 5 minutes, online):  Completed by individual providers at the participating practice. 
  • Baseline & follow-up survey (10-15 minutes each, online):  Completed by individual providers at the participating practice.
  • Display of personalized poster in exam room:  IDPH will coordinate with the point of contact at each practice to personalize the poster template with photos and signatures of participating providers. Once posters have been customized, you can expect to receive them in approximately 2-3 weeks. 

What types of data will IDPH collect?

Changes in healthcare provider knowledge, attitudes, and practices around antibiotic use will be measured via baseline and follow-up surveys. To assess changes in prescribing, IDPH encourages participating facilities to track their antibiotic prescribing data as part of the facility’s quality improvement effort . There are a number of nationally standardized quality measures (National Committee on Quality Assurance’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures) related to appropriate antibiotic use that facilities can track.

Additional information:

We encourage facilities to share a summary of this data with IDPH, for campaign evaluation, and will provide a simplified reporting template for this purpose.

How can my facility get more involved?

If you would like to join or support the Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign, please click here

To participate in the Healthcare-associated Infection (HAI) Prevention Advisory Council or its related workgroups, please contact us at

We welcome your feedback at any time!  Please send questions, comments, or suggestions to