Rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) can provide prompt, accurate identification of infectious organisms and be a key component of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. However, their use is less widespread in Asia Pacific than western countries. Cost can be prohibitive, particularly in less resource-replete settings. A selective approach is required, possibly focusing on the initiation of antimicrobials, for differentiating bacterial versus viral infections and identifying locally relevant tropical diseases. Across Asia Pacific, more data are needed on RDT use within AMS, focusing on the impact on antimicrobial usage, patient morbidity and mortality, and cost effectiveness. Moreover, in the absence of formal guidelines, regional consensus statements to guide clinical practice are warranted. These will provide a regionally relevant definition for RDT; greater consensus on its role in managing infections; advice on implementation and overcoming barriers; and guidance on optimizing human resource capacity. By addressing these issues, the outcomes of AMS programs should improve.
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