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.
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.
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.
On March 21, 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL) will be switching instrument/vendors that perform the Beta CTX (BCTX assay); we will be switching from the ROCHE COBAS® platform to the ISYS-IDS platform. Both methods compare very well, however reference ranges will change due to the different methods.
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.
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.
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.
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).