With the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotic agents, the healthcare and regulatory industries are making concerted strides to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use—including a mandate by the Joint Commission and proposed guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Without these efforts, as many as 71% of patients with acute respiratory-tract infections are prescribed antibiotics, despite that the majority of such infections have viral, rather than bacterial, causes. In the end, organizations are incurring unnecessary costs, increasing the risk of adverse events and harming public health in the long term.
As a result, health systems are looking for proven strategies to reduce their use of antibiotics—cutting the unnecessary costs of overuse—while improving outcomes for patients. Procalcitonin (PCT) testing has emerged as a strategy with not only a demonstrated clinical and health economic impact, but a proven track record in improving the financial health of organizations. Through the use of PCT testing, laboratory leaders have the opportunity to demonstrate the value of the lab with a win- win solution.