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National Laboratory System (NLS)
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National Laboratory System Logo Michigan
  • Frances Pouch Downes, DrPH
  • John Dyke, PhD
In Michigan, the Laboratory Program Advisor, Dr. John Dyke, with the guidance of the State Public Health Laboratory Director, Dr. Frances Downes, has been meeting with clinical laboratories in focus groups throughout the state to better understand the concerns of clinical laboratory professionals and public health workers, who are primary responders to both acute and chronic public health threats. A primary focus in regional meetings has been to engage anti-bioterrorism Level A clinical laboratories with Level B public health laboratories. In addition to input from front-line public health workers and laboratorians, Dr. Dyke is guided by an Advisory Group, created from stakeholders in six state regions. Members of this body include: clinical microbiology laboratories, regional public health laboratory directors, county health department surveillance staff, infection control experts, physicians, physician assistants and a proficiency testing provider.
    
bullet Creating a specimen transportation system:

Recognizing the lack of a reliable system to transport specimens to the public health laboratories, Michigan is focusing on development of a network of transportation contractors to provide state-wide coverage. Transportation of public health specimens was a major problem following the September 11 attacks; a viable model transportation system may be a prototype for delivery of specimens. The development of the specimen transportation system will be staged in order of importance as funding allows:

  • 24/7 emergency pick-up
  • Routine pick-up from public health offices
  • State-wide pick-up of all public health specimens
bullet Improving Communications:
  • Created an Advisory Council composed of several public and private laboratories
     
  • Developed a hospital fax network to improve rapid communication between the state public health laboratory and private clinical laboratories
     
  • Eliminating treatment gaps by developing an LIS-based patient tracking system
     
  • Preventing delays in rabies prevention by developing a system that will notify the county disease control nurse when a rabies test request is generated
     
  • Collaborating to create a standardized report form for hospital reporting to county health
     
  • Regular communications to clinical laboratories with Bug Bytes newsletter column stakeholders
     
  • Lab-to-lab networking for remote users
     
  • Promoted standardized report formatting for laboratory reports   
bullet Solving problems on a broad front:
  • Assessing practices for testing E. coli to improve surveillance of the O157:H7 strain
     
  • Partnering with commercial providers of proficiency testing specimens to improve public health testing for tuberculosis and meningococcus (common meningitis-causing bacteria)
     
  • Collaborating with state bioterrorism personnel to tailor training materials for clinical laboratory professionals
     
  • Convened Advisory Group discussions of laboratory workforce shortages
     
  • Collaborated with a private proficiency testing provider to create a surrogate marker for assessing proficiency of clinical laboratories for testing E. coli O157:H7
     
  • Remote data entry for newborn screening improved turnaround time.

This page last reviewed: 7/12/2004
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