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General Information

Education & Training, General Information, Test Spotlight, Test Utilization

Webinar: Managing Rhinitis Patients and the Role of Specific IgE Testing

LIVE Webinar –Managing Rhinitis Patients and the Role of Specific IgE Testing, available at Spectrum Health!

Featuring Guest Speaker Scott Duhaime, MPAS, PA-C

Please join us for a 30-minute webinar on the importance of the primary care providers’ role in regard to managing patients suffering with symptoms consistent with rhinitis—itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and congestion.

We are offering two training webinars for all providers and clinical staff on March 24th.

The goal of this webinar is to address:

♦ Importance of ruling in and ruling out allergies

♦ Debunking misconceptions around managing rhinitis

♦ Simplified patient care management

♦ Qualified referral

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Education & Training, General Information

Reminder: Fasting Tests

Several tests performed by Spectrum Health Laboratories and our Reference Laboratories (Mayo Clinic Lab) require or recommend fasting.

Please check the Lab Catalog prior to sending your patient to a draw site or sending a patient’s specimens to the lab. Help remind patients to arrive fasting if fasting tests are required.

Spectrum Health Laboratories recommends:

No caloric or caffeine intake for 8-12 hours prior to testing. Do not eat or drink anything except normal amounts of plain water. This also includes no smoking, chewing gum, candy, cough drops, etc. Some tests also require no alcoholic beverages for 24-48 hours prior to testing.

Take normal dosages of medications, unless the provider has instructed otherwise.

Results may be inaccurate if fasting was not done prior to the test and may lead to improper diagnosis or treatment. Testing will need to be repeated if patient was not fasting properly before testing.

List of fasting tests

General Information, Microbiology

New Test: Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) PCR, Swab

Effective February 10, 2022, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory will offer Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) PCR testing on swab specimens collected from cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesions (e.g. anorectal, genital, nasal, ocular, oral, skin, urethral).

PCR is the test method of choice for the diagnosis of VZV infection due to its enhanced sensitivity and speed as compared to traditional viral cultures, which should no longer be used for VZV detection. Continue Reading

General Information

Supply Update: UTM with Swab

The following NEW items are available at the Spectrum Health Distribution Center.

ITM-1140078 – Viral Transport Media with Nasopharyngeal Swab (NP, UTM)

ITM-1186125 – Viral Transport Media with Flocked Swab (UTM)

Spectrum Health and Spectrum Health Medical Group providers, please order via Workday. Independent and non-SH providers please order via the Laboratory Supply Form.

ITM-1140078 has replaced ITM-1140814 – Saline Swab Kit for Covid Nasopharyngeal collection. ITM-1186125 is recommended for Nares (Nostril) collection. Please reference the Laboratory Catalog for more information on specimen collection containers for COVID testing.

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Chemistry, Education & Training, Main lab

Test Update: AST and ALT

Go Live Date delayed to 3/3/2022

Go-Live Date: 3/2/2022

Due to new instrumentation at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital Laboratory (BIRL) and to standardize across the Spectrum Health system, we will be adopting new tests for AST and ALT. The difference between our current test and this new test is the addition of the co-factor pyridoxal phosphate (Vitamin B6). The new test is the recommended test of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and ultimately will provide our patient population more accurate AST and ALT results. We did not adopt the new test in the past because it came with logistical and stability issues that made its use in the lab difficult. The new instrumentation we obtained has solved some of these concerns.

Historically, if patients had a Vitamin B6 deficiency, their AST and ALT levels may have been falsely lower than the true values. This decrease was due to the lack of endogenous co-factor causing a slower reaction rate when we tested the patient sample. After we implement the new test across the system, you may notice an increase in your patient’s AST and ALT results. This increase may be evidence that your patient had some degree of Vitamin B6 deficiency. If you were trending results, we recommend you establish a new baseline with the new test versions. The lab has been changed slightly in EPIC to prevent trending between the two test versions, since the results may not be able to be correlated if your patient had a Vitamin B6 deficiency. Continue Reading

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, General Information

Appropriate Labeling for Shared Specimen – COVID-19 & FLU AB PCR

To provide efficient and safe testing for patient specimens, please review the following information when sending COVID-19 PCR and Influenza A/B PCR testing in the same encounter to Spectrum Health Laboratories.

Two labels will be available for this testing. Labels must be fixed so that

• The test and patient information are shown
• The barcode may be easily scanned by Lab staff or instruments

When this is not done correctly, Laboratory staff removes the labels and re-fixes or re-prints it, which obstructs workflow, causes delays, and could result in patient information being peeled off. With patient safety and efficient testing being two of the Lab’s top priorities, it is vital that specimens arrive in such a way as to best accomplish both. Continue Reading