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Education & Training

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, Immunochemistry

Collection Update to QuantiFERON Gold

Effective immediately, QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test (QFT), the industry-leading Interferon-gamma Release Assay (IGRA) for TB detection used at Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is being replaced by the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus).

The QFT-Plus is now optimized with innovative tuberculosis-specific antigens that elicit both CD8 and CD4 T cell responses, enabling a more comprehensive assessment of cell-mediated immune response to TB infection. The test principle, procedures, and specimen handling will remain the same with the one exception being that the collection kit will now consist of four tubes instead of three. Three-tube collections can no longer be accepted and will thus be canceled.

If you have three-tube collection kits, please order new four-tube collection kits in Lawson (#54909) or via the Lab Supply Order Form.

Please direct urgent questions to the Laboratory Call Center at 616-774-7721 or for non-urgent inquiries use the “contact us” link above.

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, General Information, Referral/Sendouts

Chlamydia and Gonococcus Testing on Pediatric Patients

Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is not validated to perform Chlamydia and Gonococcus testing on pediatric patients under the age of 14 years old. Testing for these patients must be sent to a reference laboratory. Please order a Reference Miscellaneous Test (#LAB848) and indicate complete test name when ordering. Continue Reading

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, General Information

Maintaining Specimen Integrity – Purple Priority Bags

purple priority bagSpectrum Health Regional Laboratory supplies purple priority bags for specimens that must be handled and processed immediately upon receipt in the laboratory. The purple color priority transport bag will be a visual cue to the receiving laboratory that the specimens inside the bag need to be handled or processed immediately at the time of arrival in the laboratory or the integrity of the specimen will be compromised.

Use these bags for transporting specimens to the laboratory when: Continue Reading

Compliance & Safety, Cytology, Education & Training

Appropriate Labeling of Specimens

Safety of our patient and quality of care are of utmost importance. For this reason we require specimens sent to the Spectrum Health Cytology Laboratory be labeled with at least two patient identifiers, (i.e., patient name, birth date and MRN.) We will no longer return to the collection site, unlabeled, mislabeled specimens lacking two patient identifiers or specimen containers with multiple different patient labels. These specimens will be discarded and repeat collection will be necessary.

Procedures to verify correct labeling of patient specimens at the time of collection are recommended.   Specimen containers should not be pre-labeled. Variation of the “time-out” procedure used in the hospital and surgical center setting is an excellent way of confirming that the specimen is correctly labeled. This can easily be achieved by having the patient verify his or her name and birth date, by reading the label placed on the specimen container at the time the specimen is collected. This “time out” should occur before the specimen leaves the examination or treatment room.

It is our mission to provide the best and safest care we can to our patients. We know that physicians and other practitioners are required to see patients more efficiently and at times with less than adequate time allowed. Following a “time out” procedure and not pre-labeling specimen containers will prevent errors that may lead to diagnoses being assigned to wrong patients, hence, unnecessary procedures and lack of follow-up for the appropriate patient.

Education & Training, Microbiology, Test Utilization

Influenza Diagnosis and Test Utilization

In anticipation of “Flu season”, it is valuable to revisit available testing methods for influenza and discuss when each test should be ordered. Though generally a self-limited infection for otherwise healthy individuals, influenza can be particularly severe for high-risk populations including infants, elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised hosts. Influenza incidence is largely seasonal with the majority of cases occurring between December and April of each year. Continue Reading

Education & Training, Microbiology

Fecal Leukocyte Specimen Collection Update

The collection requirement for Fecal Leukocyte has been updated from Empty Vial (Plain Container) to SAF Preservative (usually yellow lid with clear liquid). Empty vial is still acceptable but SAF Preservative container is preferred.

SAF Preservative container is part of the stool specimen collection kit. Specimen should be sent at ambient temperature and is stable for 7 days, however, for quality of results please send to the laboratory as soon as possible.

Collection requirements are found in our laboratory catalog.

Patient instructions are also found in the catalog.

Chemistry, Education & Training, Test Utilization

Cardiac Marker Testing (Troponin)

Cardiac marker (Troponin) testing should only be ordered for Inpatient or Emergency Department patients. This test is not clinically appropriate for outpatient testing due to long outpatient test turnaround time (specimen collection to result). In cases of acute/urgent medical conditions, please have the patients evaluated at an Urgent Care center or the Emergency Department. Continue Reading