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J Clin Microbiol. 2015 May;53(5):1467-72. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02569-14. Epub 2014 Sep 24.

Consolidated clinical microbiology laboratories.

Author information

1
Director of Microbiology and Point of Care, Carolinas Pathology Group, Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA robert.sautter@carolinashealthcare.org rthomson@northshore.org.
2
NorthShore University HealthSystem, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA robert.sautter@carolinashealthcare.org rthomson@northshore.org.

Abstract

The manner in which medical care is reimbursed in the United States has resulted in significant consolidation in the U.S. health care system. One of the consequences of this has been the development of centralized clinical microbiology laboratories that provide services to patients receiving care in multiple off-site, often remote, locations. Microbiology specimens are unique among clinical specimens in that optimal analysis may require the maintenance of viable organisms. Centralized laboratories may be located hours from patient care settings, and transport conditions need to be such that organism viability can be maintained under a variety of transport conditions. Further, since the provision of rapid results has been shown to enhance patient care, effective and timely means for generating and then reporting the results of clinical microbiology analyses must be in place. In addition, today, increasing numbers of patients are found to have infection caused by pathogens that were either very uncommon in the past or even completely unrecognized. As a result, infectious disease specialists, in particular, are more dependent than ever on access to high-quality diagnostic information from clinical microbiology laboratories. In this point-counterpoint discussion, Robert Sautter, who directs a Charlotte, NC, clinical microbiology laboratory that provides services for a 40-hospital system spread over 3 states in the southeastern United States explains how an integrated clinical microbiology laboratory service has been established in a multihospital system. Richard (Tom) Thomson of the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, discusses some of the problems and pitfalls associated with large-scale laboratory consolidation.

PMID:
25253793
PMCID:
PMC4400739
DOI:
10.1128/JCM.02569-14
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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