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Volume 17, Number 6—June 2011

Synopsis

Reality Check of Laboratory Service Effectiveness during Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Victoria, Australia

Michael CattonComments to Author , Julian Druce, Georgina Papadakis, Thomas Tran, and Christopher Birch
Author affiliations: Author affiliation: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Main Article

Table

Summary of laboratory effectiveness during pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Victoria, Australia, 2009

Challenge Potential solution
Data management
Pressure on specimen data entry into laboratory information
system Direct electronic communications of specimen data from
referring source to laboratory
Missing telephone, fax, address details on request forms Direct electronic communication of results from laboratory to
referring source
Volume of negative results precluding telephone contact with
referring source
Direct electronic communication of results from laboratory to
referring source
Specimen transport
Slow Multi-institution planning of efficient emergency specimen
transport
Poor interfacing with test start times in laboratory
Multi-institution planning of efficient emergency specimen
transport
Staff
Finite laboratory staff resources
Further minimization of manual steps for specimen processing
and additional staff cross-training
Telephone inquiries
Difficulty manning switchboard over extended laboratory hours Planning for additional agency staff during emergencies
High call volume to laboratory taking scientific staff away from
testing
Minimization of inquiries through improved specimen transport
and data management
Reagents
Shortages threatening test capacity
Expansion of reagent stockpile and use of validated test
protocols using reduced reagent volumes
Communication
Misunderstandings regarding scope and objectives of
laboratory testing
Strengthened lines of communication between laboratories,
clinicians, and health authorities
Pandemic planning
Lack of flexibility to accommodate verging levels of influenza
activity at state jurisdiction level Adapted pandemic plan

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