Controversies in Antimicrobial Stewardship: Focus on New Rapid Diagnostic Technologies and Antimicrobials

Antibiotics (Basel). 2016 Jan 14;5(1):6. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics5010006.


Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are challenged with ensuring appropriate antimicrobial use while minimizing expenditures. ASPs have consistently demonstrated improved patient outcomes and significant cost reductions but are continually required to justify the costs of their existence and interventions due to the silo mentality often adopted by hospital administrators. As new technologies and antimicrobials emerge, ASPs are in a constant tug-of-war between providing optimal clinical outcomes and ensuring cost containment. Additionally, robust data on cost-effectiveness of new rapid diagnostic technologies and antimicrobials with subsequent ASP interventions to provide justification are lacking. As the implementation of an ASP will soon be mandatory for acute care hospitals in the United States, ASPs must find ways to justify novel interventions to align themselves with healthcare administrators. This review provides a framework for the justification of implementing a rapid diagnostic test or adding a new antimicrobial to formulary with ASP intervention, reviews approaches to demonstrating cost-effectiveness, and proposes methods for which ASPs may reduce healthcare expenditures via alternative tactics.

Keywords: antimicrobial; outcomes; rapid diagnostic technology; stewardship.