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Microbiology

Microbiology, Test Utilization

Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory Discontinues Influenza Rapid Antigen Testing

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. Continue Reading

Microbiology, Referral/Sendouts, Test Utilization

New Test: Streptococcus pneumoniae Urine Antigen

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. Continue Reading

Microbiology, Test Utilization

Test Name Change: Throat Culture Comprehensive

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. Continue Reading

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

Microbiology, Test Spotlight

OSOMⓇ Trichomonas Antigen test replaces Trichomonas Wet Prep

The Trichomonas Wet Prep test has been replaced with the OSOM® Trichomonas Antigen test.

This new lateral flow immunochromatographic test offers enhanced sensitivity through the detection of Trichomonas antigen as opposed to the traditional wet prep method, which relied on the labor intensive microscopic visualization of motile Trichomonas trophozoites. Because this new assay detects antigen as opposed to viable organism, specimen stability is also extended. When collected with a single eSwab™, specimens are stable for up to 24 hours at ambient temperature and 36 hours when refrigerated. Swabs collected for the wet prep method were only stable for 3-5 hours, so there is no longer a need for STAT delivery to the laboratory.

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