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Education & Training, General Information, Referral/Sendouts

3/25/2020: Covid-19 Information

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Providers, clinical staff and non-clinical staff: 

With the national shortage of collection kits for COVID-19 Spectrum Health is looking to you to see if you have ESwabs or UTM collection kits in your office. These kits are critical to help our community test the most at risk patients. Please, if you have this inventory please contact the Spectrum Health call center at 616-774-7721 or send swabs with your courier.


Preferred Collection: Link: Nasopharyngeal Collection

Not acceptable collection supplies:

• Cotton swabs

• Calcium alginate swabs

• Wood shaft swabs

Providers: COVID-19 testing criteria:

In an effort to ensure that suspected COVID-19 patients with the highest risk are tested, these new criteria for ordering tests apply for patients with COVID-19 symptoms:

Those with fever/cough AND

  • Patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness
  • Pregnant women in the third trimester or in active labor
  • Severely immunocompromised
  • Health care and public service workers
  • Patients living in communal environments such as prisons, shelters and nursing facilities

Providers: If you have a patient that you suspect to have the Coronavirus (COVID-19) please follow these instructions:

Spectrum Health and SHMG providers, please check InSite for any information specific to Spectrum Health.

In order to protect offices from exposure to COVID-19 and to maintain testing supplies, we ask are asking offices to not order any COVID-19 testing. Please direct patients who may need screening/testing to the SH Now COVID-19 Free Screening Hotline at 833-559-0659. Any patient requiring testing will then be scheduled for drive through testing. If patients are having severe or life-threatening symptoms, please call 911.

Outpatient Draw Site Hours:

Outpatient draw site hours and availability may have changed. Please refer to Find-A-Doc for more information.

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Education & Training, General Information, Test Utilization

Appropriate Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody Ordering

The most conclusive evidence for using thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO) is predictive in nature when evaluating possible subclinical hypothyroidism. If this test is positive, hypothyroidism occurs at a rate of 4.3% per year versus 2.6% per year when the antibody is negative. While this scenario does not cover all clinical indications for ordering TPO, there is no definitive evidence that repeat TPO testing provides additional information.1

Based on this information the ordering of TPO within Spectrum Health is being modified. If the test is ordered more than once on a patient, a screen will appear in EPIC indicating the following: “This test should typically only be resulted once per lifetime. The duplicate checking indicates that this patient has already had this testing performed. Please see chart review for results.” This is not a “hard stop” but providers will need to click “Continue” to proceed with the order. Continue Reading

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

Preservative For 24 Hour Urine Collections

In both the inpatient and outpatient settings, the laboratory has supplied 24 hour urine containers with preservative such as acetic acid, sodium hydroxide, and boric acid.  Upon review of specimen stability requirements, it has been determined that a preservative is not needed prior to collection of most 24 hour urine tests as long as the 24 hour container is kept refrigerated or on ice during the collection period. Continue Reading

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