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Lab tests key to identifying, treating infectious diseases
Date:7/10/2013

the appropriate collection device, temperature and ideal transport time.

The guide suggests 10 tenets of specimen management that everyone involved from physician to nurse to laboratory scientist should follow for good patient care. These include:

  1. Specimens of poor quality must be rejected or results could be compromised.
  2. Physicians should not demand a report of "everything that grows" as this could result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
  3. Avoiding contamination of specimens is key, and careful collection is crucial.
  4. The laboratory requires a specimen, not a swab of a specimen, which may not hold enough infected material to ensure an accurate diagnosis and may be easily contaminated.
  5. The laboratory must follow its procedure manual or face legal challenges.
  6. A specimen should be collected prior to administration of antibiotics, presence of which could lead to misleading results.
  7. Susceptibility testing should be performed on clinically significant isolates, not all microorganisms in the culture.
  8. Lab results should be accurate, significant and clinically relevant.
  9. The laboratory not the medical staff should be allowed to set technical policy. Good communication and mutual respect will lead to collaborative policies.
  10. Specimens must be labeled accurately and completely (for example: dog bite wound, right forefinger).

Guidance provided in the document is not intended to take the place of a doctor's judgment, but rather to support the decision-making process, which must be individualized according to each patient's circumstances.


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Contact: Jerica Pitts
jpitts@pcipr.com
312-558-1770
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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