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The Importance of Rapid Diagnostic Testing


Lilian Abbo, MD, chief, infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship, Jackson Health System, associate professor of clinical medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, explains the importance of rapid diagnostic testing.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“The importance of rapid diagnostic tests and antimicrobial treatment to guide care starts with what we want to deliver. We want to deliver value in the healthcare we provide. In order to provide value, you need to demonstrate that you’re going to have better outcomes with the technology that you’re going to use, at a lower cost at the end of the full cycle of care of the patient.
If [I’m] treating someone with an infection and I can find what kind of infection that patient has, sooner, faster, if I know if it’s a virus or bacteria, I can make a comprehensive, well-educated and informed decision [and say], ‘Hey, you don’t need an antibiotic, you have a virus. Maybe we can treat this virus with reassurance, or maybe we need to give you an antiviral, depending on if it’s flu, for example.’ If it’s bacteria, I can [say], ‘Hey, it’s bacteria, and we can narrow or streamline therapy according to the pathogen.’
[Rapid diagnostic testing] really helps you make cost-effective decisions that should improve the patient outcome.”
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Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.