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Test Utilization

Immunochemistry, Test Utilization

Utility of specific IgE (sIgE) testing to foods and food allergen components

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. Continue Reading

Hematology, Test Utilization

Pathologist Review – Reason for Review

Pathologist review of peripheral blood smear (#8367) will have an additional required field to complete upon ordering. We are striving to improve our test utilization, inter-provider communication, and accurate and timely result reporting. Providers will see a choice of the top 10 to 15 reasons for review, including such reasons as “anemia evaluation” and “look for blasts”. An option for “other, see comment” is available for any free text comments to the pathologist.

This change is anticipated to begin for all electronic ordering of this test on February 4, 2016

Any questions concerning these changes may be directed to Dr. Jennifer Stumph, Director of Hematology.

Microbiology, Test Utilization

Clostridium difficile Two-Step Algorithm Testing

Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is preparing to switch Clostridium difficile testing methods from solely using a molecular approach to a 2-step algorithm utilizing an Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) that detects two C. difficile-specific proteins (glutamate dehydrogenase or GDH, and A/B toxin) with indeterminant EIA specimens reflexed to PCR (see flowchart below). It is estimated that approximately 90% of patients tested will be resolved by EIA and not require reflexive PCR testing. This algorithm decreases expenses to the patient by an average of 65% as compared to current testing without sacrificing result quality. Specimens will be batched for EIA testing at a frequency to ensure that results are available within 6 hours of receipt by the laboratory so that proper contact isolation precautions may be initiated when indicated. Continue Reading

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

Microbiology, Test Utilization

Enteric Pathogens by PCR replacing Stool Culture Orderable

Effective August 18, 2016, the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory Microbiology Department will begin offering the Verigene® Enteric Pathogens Test, a new rapid molecular test that simultaneously detects and identifies the following pathogenic enteric bacteria, viruses, and toxins that commonly cause acute community-acquired diarrhea. Testing occurs directly from stool in Cary-Blair preservative with a 1 day turnaround time (2-3 days faster than current methods). Continue Reading

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