The Preanalytical Phase of Microbiology is Paving the Way to Improved Patient Care

Microbiology Today

December 4, 2017

Urine. Feces. Blood. Sputum. Not exactly the most glamorous of substances.

Physicians working through surgery in the E.R. may get all the glory (with a little help from George Clooney and Dr. McDreamy), yet the results from the laboratorians dealing with all those patient specimens are behind 70 percent of all medical decisions. When the medical technician closes the door on another day, the results of those laboratory tests will play a critical role in the patient’s detection, diagnosis and treatment within the therapeutic window.

Thank a Med Tech Today
About 25 percent of all healthy women are Group B streptococcus (GBS) carriers. Since this bacterial infection is asymptomatic, the only way to find out if a pregnant woman is a carrier is through a lab test. Thanks to timely and accurate results from the lab technologist, the expecting mama who tests positive for GBS can receive the intravenous antibiotics necessary to protect the baby.

Whether pregnant, getting a flu test, testing glucose or cholesterol levels or just finding out why the patient is not feeling well, what’s the first thing a physician usually requests when seeing a patient? A sample. And the results of those samples save lives every day.

Specimen collection and transport for laboratory testing are the initial steps in determining diagnosis and treatment. The laboratory testing cycle begins with the physician’s request for a sample. During this preanalytical phase, the patient’s sample is collected and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The analytical phase of Microbiology is when those invaluable laboratory professionals step in to process, evaluate and finalize the test results.

Finally, during the post-analytical phase, the physician receives the test results and decides the best course of action to treat the patient.

This vital, yet often overlooked aspect of healthcare, is where Copan fits in.  In fact, Copan’s name is an acronym for our important mission: Collection and Preservation for Analysis. Since the beginning, Copan has understood that a swab isn’t just a swab and that there is always a patient at the other end of our products.

Focusing on the preanalytical piece of the diagnostic puzzle and working directly with the Microbiology community, Copan has developed cutting-edge devices that have revolutionized and improved patient care.

After inventing the first flocked swab (FLOQSwab®), a game-changing device which elutes nearly all the sample, Copan went on to develop UTM® for viral samples and ESwab™ a multipurpose collection and transport device for aerobes, anaerobes and fastidious bacteria that can be used for multiple tests.

Using one universal device can help lead to quicker and more accurate diagnoses, which in turn will improve patient care and manage downstream costs.

Investing in the Future
Quality laboratory testing is crucial to so many aspects of health care. Ensuring that labs have access to the latest diagnostics tools and testing is one of the surest ways to better-quality patient care.

Find out more about Copan and the products we design, develop and manufacture to improve patient care.