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Point-of-Care Testing: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Challenges?

Efficiency in any workplace is vital—inefficiency costs money, wastes time, can affect quality, and can be very frustrating for employees and customers alike. In the healthcarePoint of care testing environment however, inefficiency can negatively affect patients’ lives by delaying diagnosis and treatment. Point-of-care testing (POCT) can provide a faster turnaround time than testing performed in the central laboratory, which leads to cost/time savings as well as improving outcomes. (more…)

Flu Virus Transmission and Mutation: What does it mean to clinicians and patients?

2018 marks several interesting, historical anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote in Great Britain and Ireland, the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu (H1N1) pandemic.  And while everyone loves a good monster story, it’s the CDC statistics from the 1918 pandemic that should truly scare you—approximately 500 million people worldwide were infected. That was one-third of the world’s population at the time! The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million across the globe, including about 675,000 in the U.S. The numbers are staggering, though the uniqueness of the time helped to create this disaster: WWI meant that many people were living in close quarters together, and the movement of huge numbers of troops helped to spread the disease across the country and then overseas.

According to the World Health Organization, the next pandemic is most likely to be caused by influenza. What does this mean for physicians and patients, and what can all of us to do prepare? (more…)

Before You Buy: Which Flu Test Is Right for Your Office?

Flu season is almost upon us. By now, you and your customers may have an idea of what’s to come, based on how the flu season has already played out in other parts of the world. Last year, however, despite forewarning that a vicious flu season was likely headed our way, the United States and European countries were  caught off guard with a “Perfect Storm” of challenges for the influenza season. Flu test and antiviral medication shortages combined with limited effectiveness of the vaccine and a the aggressive H3N2 strain made for challenging times for both physicians and patients. Now, physician offices are getting ready to stock flu tests and other supplies in preparation for this year’s flu season. What do they need to know before they choose a flu test? (more…)

Plan Ahead For the Flu- How Physician Practices Can Avoid Shortfalls

A record-breaking season! The perfect storm! No, we’re not talking about the movie that garners a mediocre 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating. If you recall, last month we discussed the perfect storm of a flu season that the U.S. experienced in 2017-2018. A particularly vicious strain, combined with other factors such as a flu test shortage and a less effective vaccine, which resulted in 30,429 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in the U.S. Other parts of the world saw staggering numbers as well: North Korea reported more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the influenza strain H1N1 between December 1, 2017 and January 16, 2018; Japan saw almost three million cases by January 2018; and Britain experienced a severe season with a sharp increase in hospitalizations. (more…)