Ari A. Robicsek, M.D.

Ari A. Robicsek, M.D.

Ari A. Robicsek, M.D.

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Conditions & Procedures


Bone and Joint Infection, Fever of Unknown Origin, Illness in Returning Travelers, Infection Associated with Healthcare Contact, Infection in Patients over 18 Years of Age, Infections Associated with Implanted Devices, New Diagnosis HIV or Ongoing Care, Skin and Soft Tissue Infection


Appropriate Utilization of Antimicrobials, Diagnosis and Treatment of Infections during Immunosuppression, Medical Informatics, Prevention of Infection, Surveillance and Prevention of Infection in Healthcare

General Information




NorthShore Medical Group


Infectious Diseases

Academic Rank

Clinical Associate Professor



Board Certified

Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine

Clinical Service

Infectious Diseases

Education, Training & Fellowships

Medical School

University of Toronto Medical School, 1998


Mount Sinai Hospital - Canada, 1999


Toronto General Hospital, 2001


Toronto General Hospital, 2002
Harvard Medical School - Massachusetts General Hospital, 2005



NorthShore Medical Group

2650 Ridge Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
847.657.5959 847.657.5764 fax Get Directions This location is wheelchair accessible.


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  • Bacterial and viral co-infections complicating severe influenza: Incidence and impact among 507 U.S. patients, 2013-14.

    Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology 2016 Apr 14

    Authors: Shah NS, Greenberg JA, McNulty MC, Gregg KS, Riddell J
    Influenza acts synergistically with bacterial co-pathogens. Few studies have described co-infection in a large cohort with severe influenza infection.
    To describe the spectrum and clinical impact of co-infections.
    Retrospective cohort study of patients with severe influenza infection from September 2013 through April 2014 in intensive care units at 33 U.S. hospitals comparing characteristics of cases with and without co-infection in bivariable and multivariable analysis.
    Of 507 adult and pediatric patients, 114 (22.5%) developed bacterial co-infection and 23 (4.5%) developed viral co-infection. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common cause of co-infection, isolated in 47 (9.3%) patients. Characteristics independently associated with the development of bacterial co-infection of adult patients in a logistic regression model included the absence of cardiovascular disease (OR 0.41 [0.23-0.73], p=0.003), leukocytosis (>11K/μl, OR 3.7 [2.2-6.2], p<0.001; reference: normal WBC 3.5-11K/μl) at ICU admission and a higher ICU admission SOFA score (for each increase by 1 in SOFA score, OR 1.1 [1.0-1.2], p=0.001). Bacterial co-infections (OR 2.2 [1.4-3.6], p=0.001) and viral co-infections (OR 3.1 [1.3-7.4], p=0.010) were both associated with death in bivariable analysis. Patients with a bacterial co-infection had a longer hospital stay, a longer ICU stay and were likely to have had a greater delay in the initiation of antiviral administration than patients without co-infection (p<0.05) in bivariable analysis.
    Bacterial co-infections were common, resulted in delay of antiviral therapy and were associated with increased resource allocation and higher mortality.
    PMID: 27130980 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Documenting Penicillin Allergy: The Impact of Inconsistency.

    PloS one 2016

    Authors: Shah NS, Ridgway JP, Pettit N, Fahrenbach J, Robicsek A
    Allergy documentation is frequently inconsistent and incomplete. The impact of this variability on subsequent treatment is not well described.
    To determine how allergy documentation affects subsequent antibiotic choice.
    Retrospective, cohort study.
    232,616 adult patients seen by 199 primary care providers (PCPs) between January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2014 at an academic medical system.
    Inter-physician variation in beta-lactam allergy documentation; antibiotic treatment following beta-lactam allergy documentation.
    15.6% of patients had a reported beta-lactam allergy. Of those patients, 39.8% had a specific allergen identified and 22.7% had allergic reaction characteristics documented. Variation between PCPs was greater than would be expected by chance (all p<0.001) in the percentage of their patients with a documented beta-lactam allergy (7.9% to 24.8%), identification of a specific allergen (e.g. amoxicillin as opposed to "penicillins") (24.0% to 58.2%) and documentation of the reaction characteristics (5.4% to 51.9%). After beta-lactam allergy documentation, patients were less likely to receive penicillins (Relative Risk [RR] 0.16 [95% Confidence Interval: 0.15-0.17]) and cephalosporins (RR 0.28 [95% CI 0.27-0.30]) and more likely to receive fluoroquinolones (RR 1.5 [95% CI 1.5-1.6]), clindamycin (RR 3.8 [95% CI 3.6-4.0]) and vancomycin (RR 5.0 [95% CI 4.3-5.8]). Among patients with beta-lactam allergy, rechallenge was more likely when a specific allergen was identified (RR 1.6 [95% CI 1.5-1.8]) and when reaction characteristics were documented (RR 2.0 [95% CI 1.8-2.2]).
    Provider documentation of beta-lactam allergy is highly variable, and details of the allergy are infrequently documented. Classification of a patient as beta-lactam allergic and incomplete documentation regarding the details of the allergy lead to beta-lactam avoidance and use of other antimicrobial agents, behaviors that may adversely impact care quality and cost.
    PMID: 26981866 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Performance characteristics and associated outcomes for an automated surveillance tool for bloodstream infection.

    American journal of infection control 2016 May 1

    Authors: Ridgway JP, Sun X, Tabak YP, Johannes RS, Robicsek A
    The objective of this study was to evaluate performance metrics and associated patient outcomes of an automated surveillance system, the blood Nosocomial Infection Marker (NIM).
    We reviewed records of 237 patients with and 36,927 patients without blood NIM using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) definition for laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection (BSI) as the gold standard. We matched cases with noncases by propensity score and estimated attributable mortality and cost of NHSN-reportable central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and non-NHSN-reportable BSIs.
    For patients with central lines (CL), the blood NIM had 73.2% positive predictive value (PPV), 99.9% negative predictive value (NPV), 89.2% sensitivity, and 99.7% specificity. For all patients regardless of CL status, the blood NIM had 53.6% PPV, 99.9% NPV, 84.0% sensitivity, and 99.9% specificity. For CLABSI cases compared with noncases, mortality was 17.5% versus 9.4% (P = .098), and median charge was $143,935 (interquartile range [IQR], $89,794-$257,447) versus $115,267 (IQR, $74,937-$173,053) (P < .01). For non-NHSN-reportable BSI cases compared with noncases, mortality was 23.6% versus 6.7% (P < .0001), and median charge was $86,927 (IQR, $54,728-$156,669) versus $62,929 (IQR, $36,743-$115,693) (P < .0001).
    The NIM is an effective screening tool for BSI. Both NHSN-reportable and nonreportable BSI cases were associated with increased mortality and cost.
    PMID: 26899530 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Complex Cases in Abdominal Wall Repair and Prophilactic Mesh.

    Hernia : the journal of hernias and abdominal wall surgery 2015 Apr

    Authors: Peterson LR, Wright MO, Beaumont JL, Komutanon V, Patel PA, Schora DM, Schmitt BH, Robicsek A
    This was an observational study comparing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission with no decolonization of medical patients to required decolonization of all MRSA carriers during two consecutive periods: baseline with no decolonization of medical patients (16 months) and universal MRSA carrier decolonization (13 months). The setting was a one-hospital, 156-bed facility with 9,200 annual admissions. Regression models were used to compare rates of MRSA acquisition. The chi-square test was used to compare event frequencies. We used rates of MRSA clinical disease as an outcome monitor of the program. Analysis was done on 15,666 patients who had admission and discharge tests; 27.9% of inpatient days were occupied by a MRSA-positive patient (colonized patient-days) who received decolonization while hospitalized during the baseline period (this 27.9% represented those who had planned surgery) compared to 76.0% during the intervention period (P < 0.0001). The rate of MRSA transmission was 97 events (1.0%) for 9,415 admissions (2.0 transmission events/1,000 patient-days) during baseline and was 87 (1.4%) for 6,251 admissions (2.7 transmission events/1,000 patient-days) during intervention (P = 0.06; rate ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.55 to 1.00). The MRSA nosocomial clinical disease rate was 5.9 infections/10,000 patient-days in the baseline period and was 7.2 infections/10,000 patient-days for the intervention period (rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.46 to 1.45; P = 0.49). Decolonization of MRSA patients does not add benefit when contact precautions are used for patients colonized with MRSA in acute (hospital) care.
    PMID: 26518790 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Severe Influenza in 33 US Hospitals, 2013-2014: Complications and Risk Factors for Death in 507 Patients.

    Infection control and hospital epidemiology 2015 Nov

    Authors: Shah NS, Greenberg JA, McNulty MC, Gregg KS, Riddell J, Mangino JE, Weber DM, Hebert CL, Marzec NS, Barron MA, Chaparro-Rojas F, Restrepo A, Hemmige V, Prasidthrathsint K, Cobb S, Herwaldt L, Raabe V, Cannavino CR, Hines AG, Bares SH, Antiporta PB, Scardina T, Patel U, Reid G, Mohazabnia P, Kachhdiya S, Le BM, Park CJ, Ostrowsky B, Robicsek A, Smith BA, Schied J, Bhatti MM, Mayer S, Sikka M, Murphy-Aguilu I, Patwari P, Abeles SR, Torriani FJ, Abbas Z, Toya S, Doktor K, Chakrabarti A, Doblecki-Lewis S, Looney DJ, David MZ
    Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013-2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
    A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
    A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4-6.9], P=.006 and 50-64 years, 2.5 [1.3-4.9], P=.007; reference age 18-49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1-3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9-37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2-1.4], P<.001).
    Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013-2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
    PMID: 26224364 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Evaluating Primary Care Physician Performance in Diabetes Glucose Control.

    American journal of medical quality : the official journal of the American College of Medical Quality 2015 Apr 28

    Authors: Brown EC, Robicsek A, Billings LK, Barrios B, Konchak C, Paramasivan AM, Masi CM
    This study demonstrates that it is possible to identify primary care physicians (PCPs) who perform better or worse than expected in managing diabetes. Study subjects were 14 033 adult diabetics and their 133 PCPs. Logistic regression was used to predict the odds that a patient would have uncontrolled diabetes (defined as HbA1c ≥8%) based on patient-level characteristics alone. A second model predicted diabetes control from physician-level identity and characteristics alone. A third model combined the patient- and physician-level models using hierarchical logistic regression. Physician performance is calculated from the difference between the expected and observed proportions of patients with uncontrolled diabetes. After adjusting for important patient characteristics, PCPs were identified who performed better or worse than expected in managing diabetes. This strategy can be used to characterize physician performance in other chronic conditions. This approach may lead to new insights regarding effective and ineffective treatment strategies.
    PMID: 25921589 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Evaluation of multiple real-time PCR tests on nasal samples in a large MRSA surveillance program.

    American journal of clinical pathology 2015 May

    Authors: Patel PA, Robicsek A, Grayes A, Schora DM, Peterson KE, Wright MO, Peterson LR
    We evaluated the LightCycler MRSA Advanced Test (Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Pleasanton, CA), the BD MAX MRSA assay (Becton Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, NJ), and the Xpert MRSA assay (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA) on nasal samples using the same population.
    Admission and discharge nasal swabs were collected from inpatients using a double-headed swab. One swab was plated onto CHROMagar MRSA (CMA; Becton Dickinson, Sparks, MD) and then broken off into tryptic soy broth (TSB) for enrichment. TSB was incubated for 24 hours and then plated to CMA. The molecular tests were performed on the second swab. We analyzed the cost benefit of testing to evaluate what parameters affect hospital resources.
    A total of 27,647 specimens were enrolled. The sensitivity/specificity was 98.3%/98.9% for the LightCycler MRSA Advanced Test and 95.7%/98.8% for the Xpert MRSA assay, but the difference was not significant. The positive predictive value was 86.7% for the LightCycler MRSA Advanced Test, 82.7% for the Xpert MRSA assay (P > .1), and 72.2% and for the BD MAX MRSA test (P < .001 compared with the LightCycler MRSA Advanced Test). All three assays were cost-effective, with the LightCycler MRSA Advanced Test having the highest economic return.
    Our results suggest that the performance of the three commercial assays is similar. When assessing economic cost benefit of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus screening, the two measures with the most impact are the cost of the test and the specificity of the assay results.
    PMID: 25873498 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Clinical decision support systems and infection prevention: to know is not enough.

    American journal of infection control 2015 Jun

    Authors: Wright MO, Robicsek A
    Clinical decision support (CDS) systems are an increasingly used form of technology designed to guide health care providers toward established protocols and best practices with the intent of improving patient care. Utilization of CDS for infection prevention is not widespread and is particularly focused on antimicrobial stewardship. This article provides an overview of CDS systems and summarizes key attributes of successfully executed tools. A selection of published reports of CDS for infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship are described. Finally, an individual organization describes its CDS infrastructure, process of prioritization, design, and development, with selected highlights of CDS tools specifically targeting common infection prevention quality improvement initiatives.
    PMID: 25798779 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Active Surveillance and Decolonization Without Isolation Is Effective in Preventing Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Transmission in the Psychiatry Units.

    Open forum infectious diseases 2014 Sep

    Authors: Das S, Harazin M, Wright MO, Dusich I, Robicsek A, Peterson LR
    Control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is difficult in select populations. We used molecular typing to study the effect of universal surveillance and decolonization of carriers, without isolation, on MRSA transmission in a specialized unit.
    Patients admitted to the unit were screened for nasal MRSA at admission and discharge. Those who acquired MRSA during their stay were identified and linked to carriers with shared time in unit. Molecular typing of isolates was performed to identify transmission.
    Of 3285 admissions, 82% were tested for MRSA nasal carriage; the discharge screening compliance was 64.7%. Admission prevalence was 2.3% among patients screened, and 7 (0.42%) acquired nasal MRSA during their stay. All patients who acquired MRSA shared time in the unit with a colonized patient. There were 3.9 MRSA acquisitions per 1000 at-risk days. Isolates from 5 patients that acquired MRSA during their stay as well as their potential donors (11 donor: recipient patient pairs) were available for typing. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis matched 1 acquisition isolate to a colonized patient isolate. There were no MRSA infections during the study period.
    Despite less than perfect nasal screening compliance and exemption from traditional isolation precautions, acquisition of MRSA was 0.42% in this patient population over a course of 4.75 years, including a single case of acquisition, genetically similar to a known potential donor source. Screening for MRSA colonization and decolonizing of carriers was sufficient in reducing transmission in this vulnerable population.
    PMID: 25734137 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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Novel H1N1: Dr. Ari Robicsek (Infectious Diseases)

Novel H1N1: Dr. Ari Robicsek (Infectious Diseases)