Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, Microbiology

Update: Swabs for Cultures without a Source and Order

Effective May 9th, 2022, Spectrum Health Laboratory’s Microbiology Department will no longer be preemptively setting up cultures on swabs without a source and order, when received on Thursdays through Sundays and Holidays. Note: The specimen will still be held, but cultures will not be set up in anticipation of the order.

The reason for this change:

Setting up numerous cultures in anticipation of the desired test(s) is a substantial investment of workflow time and department resources; additionally, it does not always result in preventing the patient from having to return for recollection (see below). Unfortunately, the variety of tests offered by the Microbiology Department is too extensive to continue providing this service.

The possible impact and steps to take:

Most swabs received have a stability of 48hrs and therefore—because a call-on during this time would not be made until Monday—may need to be recollected depending on the desired test. There may also be a delay in testing until the collection and order information is determined. To mitigate, please ensure all requisitions and orders are fully filled out with desired test and that the source is documented on the specimen label and any paperwork before sending to the lab.


Thank you. We appreciate your help in preserving the department’s resources and optimizing its workflows to better serve all of our collective patients.

Questions and concerns may be directed to the Microbiology Department using the “contact us” link above.


Additional Resources:

Spectrum Health Observed Holidays

List of Microbiology Tests

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