A new technology could half the number of people needing antibiotics for respiratory tract infections.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published an assessment, recommending that a pilot programme of C-reactive protein point-of-care testing be considered.
HIQA has said a "carefully managed and monitored pilot programme" should be considered by the Health Minister Simon Harris.
The device is used to measure the level of C-reactive protein in a person's blood - which can be used as an indicator of bacterial infection.
Clinical trials have shown that the use of CRP POCT to inform antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) leads to "a significant reduction in antibiotic prescribing", without compromising patient safety.
Ireland has a high rate of antibiotic prescribing in patients presenting with acute RTIs.
An estimated 2.4 million prescriptions are issued for such infections here each year.
"Implications for general practices"
Studies have shown that increased antibiotic consumption correlates with increased antibiotic resistance.
HIQA said: "Inappropriate antibiotic consumption is associated with increased antimicrobial resistance, causing increased illness and death from bacterial infections."
Its chief scientist, Dr Conor Teljeur, said: "The use of CRP POCT in primary care settings to inform antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections may lead to a significant reduction in antibiotic prescribing without compromising patient safety.
"The adoption of CRP POCT would also have organisational implications for general practices in terms of impact on patient flow, the need for quality assurance, and potential displacement of activity through longer consultation times for patients who undergo the test".
"We need to determine how best to maintain the positive effects of CRP POCT over the longer term.
"A carefully managed and monitored pilot programme or partial roll-out of CRP POCT offers the best prospect to evaluate a CRP POCT programme and establish whether a national roll-out is advisable," Dr Teljeur added.
Antimicrobial resistance leads to the deaths of approximately 700,000 people globally each year.