Impact of New Microbiology Technology on Patient Outcomes

As diagnostic microbiology laboratories evolve from profit to cost centers in the era of declining reimbursements, the clinical microbiologist will need a better understanding of how technology can impact the quality of patient care. In this course, the latest advances in technology for microbiology, some of the issues surrounding these methods, and the overall impact of these newer tests on patient care and health outcomes will be explored.

Course Level: Intermediate.

Intended Audience: This is an 11-topic practical course so laboratory personnel (e.g., medical technologists, supervisors, and directors) with a minimum of a bachelors-degree and familiarity with clinical microbiology will benefit the most. 

Format: On-demand webcast (recorded) presentations.

Continuing Education (CE) Credit: Each presentation is approved for one (1) P.A.C.E.® credit. CE credits can only be claimed by the purchaser. ASM is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program. All sessions are recognized by the California and Florida Departments of Health and qualify for California and Florida CE credit toward license renewal.


Topics Speakers

The Evolution of Reimbursement for Laboratory Testing

A number of changes have occurred over time that will have a profound effect on the future of reimbursement for laboratory testing. With reimbursement cuts and the evolution of the laboratory to a cost center that no longer contributes to the revenue of a hospital but adds to its costs, it will be essential for clinical microbiology laboratories to be proactive and adopt solutions to ensure future success.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Define common terminology and concepts for issues in reimbursement for laboratory services.
  2. Discuss the evolution of reimbursement for laboratory services under Medicare as a model for other payers.
  3. Describe implications for laboratories of the transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment models.


Vickie Baselski, Ph.D., D(ABMM)

Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines – A Framework for Justification of Technology

With the ever-increasing cost of health care, it is imperative that new laboratory tests that are developed and introduced in clinical practice are supported by evidence of improved patient outcomes. Evidence-based laboratory guidelines will be of great value to provide information on the usefulness of new technology and its relative benefits over existing tests and to a broad range of patient populations in different clinical situations.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe what the acronym PICO means
  2. Explain factors that figure into deciding what test to offer
  3. Identify how evidence is used to determine laboratory medicine best practice


Alice Weissfeld, Ph.D., D(ABMM)

Impact of the Laboratory on Reporting of Health Care-Associated Infections

Health care-associated infections (HAI) are a threat to patient safety and place a significant burden upon the health care system. The appropriate selection and use of rapid and accurate laboratory technologies for the routine screening of patients and detection of infections can have a significant impact on the control and reduction of HAI rates and on the overall care and management of patients.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize common and emerging HAI.
  2. Discuss best practices for laboratory diagnosis of HAI.
  3. Describe appropriate actions to take when potential HAI are detected.


Brandi Limbago, Ph.D.

New Testing Algorithms for HIV and the Impact on Public Health

For nearly 25 years, the standard algorithm used in the U.S. for serological diagnosis of HIV infection has been a two-step process involving a screening immunoassay followed by a confirmatory Western blot. Significant advances in HIV diagnostics over the years have led to the development of a new alternative algorithm proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). Implementation of this new HIV testing algorithm should decrease reporting times for results and improve linkage to care, differentiation infections with HIV-1 from HIV-2, and enhance our ability to identify acute primary HIV infections.


Learning Objectives:

  1. List the different types of tests that can be used for detecting HIV infection.
  2. Understand the sequence of tests used in the recommended HIV laboratory testing algorithm.
  3. Describe the clinical and public health advantages of early diagnoses of HIV infection.


S. Michele Owen, Ph.D., D(ABMM)

Rapid Influenza Testing and Its Impact on Patient Care

Rapid and accurate diagnostic tests for influenza can have a major impact on the care and management of persons with respiratory disease, and are useful in surveillance and control of infection to identify outbreaks and reduce spread. Rapid antigen tests for influenza continue to be widely used in many facilities because of their speed and simplicity, although adoption of molecular testing has accelerated in recent years because of its increased accuracy and reliability.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the epidemiology and impact of influenza virus infections.
  2. Describe the performance and clinical utility of rapid influenza diagnostic tests.
  3. Outline testing algorithms which include the use of influenza antigen detection tests.


James Dunn, Ph.D., D(ABMM)

Multiplex Testing for Enteric Pathogens- Is It Worth It?

Globally, acute infectious gastroenteritis is a substantial public health burden resulting in 3-5 billion cases of diarrhea and 4-10 million deaths each year. The microbial pathogens responsible for these infections are diverse and difficult to distinguish clinically or by current laboratory methods. Recent developments in technology have led to the introduction of multiplex assays that can simultaneously detect and identify multiple gastrointestinal pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and parasites. The clinical utility, impact on outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of this approach remains to be determined.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To review viral, bacterial and parasitic causes of diarrhea.
  2. To provide an overview of commercial multiplex enteric pathogen diagnostic tests.
  3. To contrast near-patient and batch-testing approaches.


Marek Smieja, M.D., Ph.D.

Multiplex Testing of Blood Cultures and the Impact on Patient Care/Outcomes

Sepsis resulting from microbial bloodstream infections is a serious condition accounting for a substantial number of illnesses and death each year. Rapid laboratory identification of the numerous microbial pathogens that can cause sepsis and determination of antibiotic susceptibility could greatly improve patient outcomes. A number of new technologies have been recently developed and are now available for multiplex detection of many different pathogens as well as markers of antimicrobial drug resistance directly from positive blood cultures.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the challenges currently associated with laboratory diagnosis of bloodstream infections.
  2. Describe currently available methods for the rapid identification of organisms responsible for bacteremia.
  3. Analyze the potential impact of implementing a rapid method of organism identification in bacteremia as it relates to budget, technologist time, clinical outcomes, and hospital costs.
  4. Design a “go-live” plan for implementation that involves critical stakeholders such as infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, pharmacy, and information services.

Kaede Ota Sullivan, M.D., D(ABMM)

Clostridium difficile Testing- How it is Done can Impact on HAI Rates

Clostridium difficile causes antibiotic-associated colitis and remains one of the most common health care associated infections leading to significant morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. The choice of testing strategies to diagnose C. difficile in the clinical microbiology laboratory greatly impacts the rates of recognized hospital acquired infections. Newer molecular technologies may ultimately address many of these testing concerns.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the strengths and limitations of nucleic acid amplification and toxin EIA testing methods for diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection.
  2. Describe the advantages and limitations of molecular detection of Clostridium difficile.
  3. Discuss the difference between Clostridium difficile colonization and Clostridium difficile infection.
  4. Explain the potential impact on test methodology on apparent Clostridium difficile infection rates within an institution.

Carey-Ann Burnham, Ph.D., D(ABMM)

Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Role of Hospital and Public Health Laboratories

The incidence and spread of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases has increased in recent decades due to population growth, urbanization and global travel. Pathogens such as Ebola virus, MERS coronavirus, enterovirus D-68, dengue and chikungunya viruses, and measles and mumps viruses, to name a few, are a major public health problem and the capacity for early, rapid, and accurate detection is challenging. Hospital and public health laboratories play an extremely important supportive role and are at the frontlines in providing a framework and infrastructure for the accurate and timely diagnosis of these infectious agents.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how emerging infectious diseases occur and are transmitted
  2. Describe the role that the hospital has in detection of these emerging threats
  3. Explain recent specific examples of the interaction between hospital and public health laboratories in response to emerging infections.


Colleen Kraft, M.D.

The Microbiome and Its Impact on Human Health

Metagenomics has expanded our capabilities to detect and identify the genetic composition of entire communities of microorganisms, including those living on and within the human body. Studies of the human microbiome have provided insightful information on the vital role that microbial communities play in health and disease. The recent availability of next generation sequencing technologies has facilitated this process and may provide the clinical microbiology laboratory with a powerful tool to analyze and better understand the influence resident microbes have on the human body.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Compare microbiome profiles throughout the body.
  2. Identify microbiome signatures associated with disease.
  3. Assess the clinical utility of microbiome characterization as it related to companion diagnostics, treatment selection, prognosis, and microbiome-based therapy.

Ruth Ann Luna, Ph.D.

Multiplex Testing for Respiratory Viruses and the Impact on Patient Care/Outcomes

Viral respiratory tract infections are very common in children and adults worldwide and are a major cause of hospitalization and death in the very young, the elderly, and individuals with underlying deficiencies and comorbidity. Rapid and accurate laboratory detection of the many different respiratory viruses responsible for disease can play an important role in clinical management, but determining the source of a respiratory infection using traditional methods can be challenging. To this end, newer technologies with a multiplex design has allowed for more efficient and simultaneous interrogation of a single specimen for multiple respiratory viruses.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe laboratory tests available for respiratory virus detection
  2. Identify strengths and weaknesses of traditional and molecular laboratory tests for respiratory viruses
  3. Describe the potential clinical impact of implementing multiplex respiratory viral PCR test


Rangaraj Selvarangan,  Ph.D., D(ABMM)


Cost: $25 per presentation or $200 for all. ASM members can purchase singular sessions or all in a bundle. If you would like to join ASM to take advantage of this continuing education opportunity, visit ASMscience for more information.

Order: Online purchasing is available at ASM Events Online or complete the order form and mail, fax or email it to complete your purchase; submission specifics are listed on the form. 


   This educational course is made possible through an unrestricted education grant from Roche Diagnostics.