Rapid diagnostic tests for common infection syndromes: less haste, more speed

S. V. Patel, C. Pulcini, Alicia Demirjian, O. van Hecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rapid diagnostic tests, which accurately distinguish bacterial from viral infections, are being heralded as the solution to antibiotic overuse, which is a key driver of antimicrobial resistance. We have concerns that this approach is oversimplistic. Rapid diagnostic tests are complex interventions, with clinical context, patient flow, access and timing affecting their impact. There is little robust evidence that they reduce antibiotic prescribing in real-world settings. We suggest that prior to introducing these costly tests, emphasis should be placed on optimizing the implementation of efficient evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship interventions, such as increasing the use of proven automated clinical infection syndrome prediction tools by clinicians, supporting patients to self-care by providing them with high-quality safety-netting resources, providing front-line clinicians with individual prescribing data to facilitate peer benchmarking and setting specific and purposeful antibiotic prescribing targets to improve the quality of antimicrobial prescribing. The stakes are high and time is running out; let's start by getting the basics right.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2028-2030
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Volume75
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

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