Influenza is currently widespread throughout the nation at epidemic proportions. During influenza epidemics, clinical assessment predicts the presence of influenza infection virtually as well as laboratory testing. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to perform viral testing on ambulatory patients who present with illness consistent with influenza before beginning antiviral treatment. Antiviral treatment for Influenza should be started as soon as possible to have a beneficial effect.
Shortages of supplies and medications frequently occur during Influenza epidemics. However, diagnosis of specific viral respiratory infection remains important for hospitalized patients.
Please follow the current recommendations:
- Limit availability of viral transport media at ambulatory sites.
- Emergency departments are to limit viral respiratory testing to patients expected to be admitted.
- Do not perform testing for test of cure.
Thank you for your support during this time. Please direct any questions to Laboratory Services via the “contact us” link above.
Effective November 5, 2017, the 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D test will have its name changed to Calcitriol (1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D) in the Epic, Cerner and eSHare systems.
Effective November 5, 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory will no longer be able to support custom reflex orders. Only reflexes that are defined in our Mandatory and Optional Reflex Testing list will be supported. These reflexes have been approved by our Pathologists, PhD’s and the Spectrum Health Medical Executive Committee. On November 5th, we will be undergoing a system change to Epic and with our new Laboratory Information System (LIS), custom requests for reflexes will not be available.
There has been a minor change to the influenza testing methods performed by the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL) to improve the accuracy and timeliness of patient results, while simplifying the ordering process for providers. In past years during respiratory illness season, the lab performed influenza rapid antigen testing due to its low cost and rapid turnaround time, with negative specimens reflexed to PCR for confirmatory testing. Approximately 85% of specimens tested by a rapid antigen method typically reflexed, with those patients charged for performing both tests.
As of July 11, 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory will offer Streptococcus pneumoniae urine antigen testing. This testing is currently sent to Mayo Medical Laboratories. By bringing testing in-house, result turnaround time will be improved by 1 day, testing will be available 7 days per week (instead of Monday – Friday), and testing can be offered at a reduced charge to our patients.
On June 27th, the name of the current order “Respiratory (non-sputum) Culture without Gram stain” will change to “Throat Culture Comprehensive.” All other specimen collection details and culture workup will remain the same. Given the fact that there are currently several similarly named tests, this change is being made to reduce confusion regarding test selection and to clarify acceptable specimen types.
On June 27th 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL) will be switching instrument/vendors that perform the Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibody (anti-CCP) IgG assay. We will be switching from the INOVA platform to the PHADIA-250 platform.
As of May 2, 2017, Spectrum Health’s Infection Control & Prevention department has declared the system to be officially within “Non-Influenza Season” based on a return to baseline prevalence at both the local and state levels.
Influenza PCR testing will now be performed as opposed to screening with rapid antigen testing.
The diagnostic evaluation of allergic disease occurs in the context of a patient’s complete clinical presentation. Important factors include, age, clinical signs and symptoms, relevant allergen exposures, and the performance characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values) of the allergy tests themselves. Allergy tests yield information about sensitization to allergens, which is not always equivalent to allergic hypersensitivity (i.e., sensitivity); thus, interpretation in the context of clinical history is essential for accurate diagnosis.