At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Spectrum Health Laboratory implemented a protocol to call providers and patients to notify of positive COVID-19 PCR testing. The pandemic has shifted to an endemic phase and a positive COVID-19 test is no longer considered a critical value. Effective Friday, August 26, 2022, Spectrum Health Laboratory will no longer call positive COVID-19 PCR testing, for inpatient or outpatient specimens.
Results for COVID-19 PCR will still file to the patient’s chart in Epic and reported to the ordering provider through usual means of receiving results (fax or electronic) and to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Patient’s will still be notified via their MyChart as well.
If you have any questions or concerns, please use the “contact us” link above.
Effective May 16, 2022, Platelet Aggregation Studies will no longer flag abnormal in Epic for elevated aggregation for ADP, epinephrine, collagen, and arachidonic acid. These elevated result components are not clinically abnormal and may cause unnecessary concern if flagged as abnormal.
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.
West Michigan influenza infections peaked mid-March 2022 and have been declining in the weeks that followed. Now with a low prevalence of circulating influenza, using the most sensitive diagnostic test is recommended in order to obtain accurate and actionable results. Influenza antigen testing (e.g. Sofia instrument) is no longer appropriate at this time and Influenza PCR testing should be ordered when clinically indicated.
More detailed information can be found as published by the CDC:
Algorithm to assist in the interpretation of influenza testing results and clinical decision-making during periods when influenza viruses are NOT circulating in the community, and in previous lab newsletters: Influenza Diagnosis and Test Utilization
Folate (aka Folic Acid) is a test that requires the patient to be fasting in order for the results be accurate. Results are falsely elevated if the patient is not fasting. Spectrum Health Laboratories recently updated our system to hard stop a test from being collected if the patient is not fasting. Please remind your patients to fast 8 hours prior to having their blood drawn.
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.
• Take normal dosages of medications unless the provider has instructed otherwise.
Click here for a list of tests the require or recommend fasting.
If you are collecting COVID-19 swabs in your office or clinic, please order and collect using the saline swab kits (“liquid media” or “wet collection”) instead of the tube with no liquid media (“dry collection”).
• Liquid media swab kits will provide a faster turn-around time.
• Dry collection kits supplies are low.
Please refer to the COVID-19 PCR test in the Lab Catalog for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 collection.
• COVID-19 PCR Swab – LAB1230607
The Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory Coagulation Department will be going live with the Helena AggRam analyzer on February 3, 2021. This analyzer uses platelet rich plasma to analyze human platelet aggregation which is measured by absorbance. The following aggregating agents are used in these studies: Arachidonic Acid, ADP, Collagen, Epinephrine, and Ristocetin.
Patients for platelet aggregation studies should be resting, fasting, and non-smoking. Patients should avoid taking any prescription or over the counter medications known to affect platelet function for ten (10) days to two (2) weeks prior to the studies. For a list of medications known to have anti-platelet effects, click here.