The Next Big Thing in Stewardship?

A clinician is advocating for incorporating diagnostic stewardship practices within antimicrobial stewardship programs, which could someday lead to best practice guidelines on a larger scale.

The time from clinical evaluation to testing to diagnosis to treatment can be a laborious process that does not always equate to optimal therapy in an efficient manner. Steps along the way can be fraught with delays and uncertainties.

Whereas, the traditional administration of diagnostic tests and the protocols associated with them can be lengthy, the advent of newer technologies such as rapid tests can speed up the process, but also get to optimal antimicrobial therapy prescribing practices more efficiently. These capabilities are part of a new novel concept titled diagnostic stewardship.

Kim Claeys, PharmD, associate professor, University of Maryland, is advocating for bringing diagnostic stewardship into institutions as part of their antimicrobial stewardship programs. “Antimicrobial stewardship and diagnostic stewardship are very intrinsically linked,” Claeys said. “They are synergistic in their actions and there’s a lot of activities that antimicrobial stewardship programs can bring back to their hospitals and talk to their infection prevention and clinical micro [teams] and really work to make their own diagnostic stewardship teams to look at doing these interventions that will improve diagnosis—as well as downstream antimicrobial prescribing.”

She presented her program, “These are Exciting Times: Implementing Diagnostic Stewardship into Traditional Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs,” at the 24th Annual Making a Difference in Infectious Disease (MAD-ID) Meeting 2022 in Orlando, Florida from May 18-21.

Contagion spoke to Claeys at the MAD-ID meeting who provided further insights into her presentation including a deeper understanding of how diagnostic stewardship can be incorporated into antimicrobial stewardship and the exciting possibility that new data from single center studies may lead to best practice guidelines on a larger scale.