Spectrum Health Lakeland invests in new real-time PCR testing technology

ST. JOSEPH – A new level of molecular testing is now available at Spectrum Health Lakeland through a $350,000 investment in the cobas 6800 System, which allows for real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing — a fast, highly accurate way to diagnose certain infectious diseases and genetic changes. The cobas 6800 can perform blood screening, viral load monitoring, and diagnostic testing, with results for most tests delivered same day.

“This new technology will allow us to improve testing accessibility and capacity throughout our system—most importantly when testing for COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Pearson, MD, laboratory medical director, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “Previously we were seeing testing turn around times from 48 to 72 hours, and now we are able to process most results in 24 hours or less. The system can also process over 400 specimens per day which ensures we are able to adequately meet the needs of anyone in our community who may require a COVID-19 test.”

“We are honored to be the first organization in Berrien County to be performing this level of testing locally,” said Bethany Stibbe, microbiology technical specialist, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “We understand how important it is for patients to receive accurate, timely lab test results and look forward to the many ways this system will enhance the overall patient experience.”

COVID-19 testing at a Lakeland facility is available for patients who have any symptoms of the disease. Patients in need of a COVID-19 test should contact their local Southwest Michigan primary care provider to obtain a doctor’s order. If patients do not have a provider, care related to COVID-19 continues to be available at all three of the Spectrum Health Lakeland walk-in clinics in Niles, Stevensville, and Watervliet.

For more information, visit spectrumhealthlakeland.org/covid19.

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