Rapid diagnostics within clinical microbiology is more required, as hospitals need to be more effective. Tests for multi-resistant organisms, influenza virus and life-threatening diseases such as malaria and meningitis are warranted. This review describes the advances within rapid diagnostics and the impact on patient care. To achieve the full potential of rapid diagnostics, logistics such as transportation and personnel around the clock is necessary. However, with the right set-up, clinical microbiology rapid diagnostics will contribute to better and more effective patient care.