Antimicrobial Stewardship: How the Microbiology Laboratory Can Right the Ship

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2016 Dec 14;30(1):381-407. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00066-16. Print 2017 Jan.


Antimicrobial stewardship is a bundle of integrated interventions employed to optimize the use of antimicrobials in health care settings. While infectious-disease-trained physicians, with clinical pharmacists, are considered the main leaders of antimicrobial stewardship programs, clinical microbiologists can play a key role in these programs. This review is intended to provide a comprehensive discussion of the different components of antimicrobial stewardship in which microbiology laboratories and clinical microbiologists can make significant contributions, including cumulative antimicrobial susceptibility reports, enhanced culture and susceptibility reports, guidance in the preanalytic phase, rapid diagnostic test availability, provider education, and alert and surveillance systems. In reviewing this material, we emphasize how the rapid, and especially the recent, evolution of clinical microbiology has reinforced the importance of clinical microbiologists' collaboration with antimicrobial stewardship programs.

Keywords: antimicrobial stewardship; antimicrobials; microbiologist; optimal use; rapid tests; role; stewardship.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Humans
  • Microbiology
  • Physicians
  • Professional Role
  • Program Development


  • Anti-Infective Agents