The Laboratory’s Vital Role in Patient Care and Antimicrobial Stewardship

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

Featured Expert: Dr. Rodney Rohde, PhD, MS, SV/SM/MB(ASCP)CM – Chair of Clinical Laboratory Science at Texas State University

Labs provide physicians and pharmacists with vital knowledge that allows patient care plans to be executed—all while contributing to the fight against antimicrobial resistance. We sat down for a virtual interview with Dr. Rodney Rohde to discuss the important role of the laboratory in patient care and antimicrobial stewardship.

Dr. Rodney Rohde speaks to the many responsibilities that laboratories have, including the six Ds of antimicrobial stewardship (diagnosis, debridement/drainage, drug, dose, duration, and de-escalation).

“It begins with diagnosis,” says Rohde. “The first D is really us providing guidance to clinicians and obtaining the correct specimen, as well as the identification of the actual organism.”

Once the laboratory has identified the correct organism, antimicrobial susceptibility testing can be performed to determine which drug and dosage are most appropriate to treat the infection. Careful patient monitoring then plays a role in the duration and de-escalation of treatment in cases of severe infection.

Dr. Rohde also touches on the challenges that many labs face, emphasizing how important it is that the lab is consulted regularly and “maintains a seat at the table.”

“There are so many areas that the clinical laboratory needs to be involved with as it pertains to antimicrobial stewardship and resistance to drugs,” says Rohde. “Our biggest challenge is being consulted in all health care decisions.”

While COVID-19 has improved the visibility of the clinical lab and the people who work there, it has also brought huge challenges because of the volume of testing that has been needed. Laboratory teams, which already face staffing shortages, have had to work extremely hard to keep up as COVID-19 testing has been stacked on top of their regular workload.

The value of the lab is clear in Dr. Rohde’s view, “Medical laboratory scientists and clinical microbiologists provide most if not all of the data that physicians and pharmacists need to create a health care plan,” he says.


Rodney E. Rohde, PhD is a University Distinguished Professor and Chair for the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University. He also serves as Associate Director for the Translational Health Research Center. His research interests include Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs), antimicrobial resistance, and clinical and public health microbiology with a focus in zoonotic diseases. 


Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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