Knowing whether a person has COVID-19 early has several benefits. Their close contacts can be warned they’ve been exposed and to quarantine. Providers can make better calls on early medical intervention.
Testing means hospitals also can know how much personal protective equipment to use based on the diagnosis. This is crucial because hospitals have been running low on this equipment, such as masks, gowns, face shields and more.
With in-house testing, Kettering Health can better tell which patients don’t have the disease and can be treated with standard precautions used in a hospital setting.
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“So this is drastic in the ability for us to preserve our PPE,” said Dr. Patrick Lytle, vice president of clinical outcomes at Kettering Health Network.
Hospitals are also wrestling with a shortage of testing supplies as facilities around the U.S. vy for swabs, testing chemicals and more.
Lytle said that for their in-house patients the hospital can test all the patients they need to.
“Like everybody else, we monitor our supply. And the whole problem with all of this is we really don’t know what that surge is going to be. So we’re going by strict guidelines of who we test and we are testing who we feel is appropriate,” Lytle said.
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Premier Health, which is the other large health network in the region, also now has in-house testing for hospitalized patients suspected of being sick from COVID-19.
Premier Health and and CompuNet Clinical Laboratories said on April 3 that they had launched local in-house testing for its hospital patients. Premier operates Miami Valley Hospital as well as Miami Valley Hospital South and Miami Valley Hospital North, Upper Valley Medical Center, and Atrium Medical Center.
“CompuNet has been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to bring testing to patients within our hospitals who are suspected of being positive for COVID-19,” Dr. Ronald Chiu, CompuNet medical director, said at the time. “This is a game changer for us.”