Role of Clinical Microbiology Laboratories in the Management and Control of Infectious Diseases and the Delivery of Health Care


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Abstract

Modern medicine has led to dramatic changes in infectious diseases practice. Vaccination and antibiotic therapy have benefited millions of persons. However, constrained resources now threaten our ability to adequately manage threats of infectious diseases by placing clinical microbiology services and expertise distant from the patient and their infectious diseases physician. Continuing in such a direction threatens quality of laboratory results, timeliness of diagnosis, appropriateness of treatment, effective communication, reduction of health care-associated infections, advances in infectious diseases practice, and training of future practitioners. Microbiology laboratories are the first lines of defense for detection of new antibiotic resistance, outbreaks of foodborne infection, and a possible bioterrorism event. Maintaining high-quality clinical microbiology laboratories on the site of the institution that they serve is the current best approach for managing today's problems of emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial agent resistance by providing good patient care outcomes that actually save money.

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