The role of the microbiology laboratory in antimicrobial stewardship programs

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2014 Jun;28(2):215-35. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


One of the impediments to the success of antimicrobial stewardship is the lack of availability of rapid and sensitive laboratory tests. The last decade has seen an explosion in new technologies that permit, in less than 4 hours, the identification of organisms and their resistance markers. In addition, the use of biomarkers has been explored in algorithms to distinguish infections that require antimicrobial agents. Clinical microbiology laboratories also contribute to the success of stewardship programs through compilation of aggregate antimicrobial susceptibility data. This article reviews rapid diagnostics, the use of biomarkers, and antibiogram development to antimicrobial stewardship activities and the subsequent impact on patient outcomes.

Keywords: Antibiogram; Antimicrobial stewardship; Microbiology laboratory; Procalcitonin; Rapid diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections* / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections* / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections* / microbiology
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Drug Utilization / standards*
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents