A recent analysis of several studies found that when molecular rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are combined with antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs, patient outcomes are improved exponentially. When combined with AMS interventions, molecular RDTs decreased mortality by 36% in patients with bloodstream infections and reduced both the time to effective therapy by 5.03 hours and hospital length of stay by 2.48 days.
In addition to improving patient outcomes, RDTs may help AMS programs achieve aspects of the CDC’s Core Elements of Antimicrobial Stewardship by:
- Ensuring prospective audit and feedback of certain RDT results
- Educating staff through AMS interpretation and intervention based on RDT results
- Tracking/monitoring by assessment of mortality and hospital length of stay outcomes
The analysis concludes that RDTs link AMS programs and clinical microbiology labs in a mutually beneficial relationship and notes the important role pharmacists will play in helping labs translate the undeniable clinical value of RDTs into financial cost-justifications.
Advances in RDTs provide new opportunities for AMS and enhance the function of clinical microbiology laboratories, but diagnostic stewardship will be crucial going forward as the clinical benefit of RDTs has been solidified. Pharmacists must make a concerted effort to justify the addition of RDTs prior to their implementation, educate prescribing staff of the benefits, and track RDT-related outcomes within the institution."
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Wenzler E. Using rapid diagnostics to fight resistance. Infectious Disease Special Edition. May 30, 2018. https://www.idse.net/Resistance--Stewardship/Article/09-15/Using-Rapid-Diagnostics-to-Fight-Resistance/48730