St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County Invests in Revolutionary Diagnostic Technology to Rapidly Detect Dangerous Disease States

August 20, 2018 Providence News Team

The laboratory at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka is the proud owner of a brand new piece of equipment that will save lives. Thanks to funding from the Foundation at St. Joseph Hospital, lab experts will now be using the BioFire FilmArray system to detect life threatening pathogens on the DNA level, such as Meningitis or Septicemia (Sepsis), one of the leading causes of death in both infants and adults in the United States.

“Advances in lab technology are revolutionizing patient care,” said Marilyn Bazor, laboratory manager, St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. “A process that used to require multiple steps, sometimes over several days, is now finished in an hour, before the patient even leaves the emergency department. This new technology allows our local lab to perform specialized testing that was once the purview of only large university or commercial labs.”

Using the BioFire FilmArray System, laboratory technicians in Eureka can now rapidly detect the DNA of pathogens of life-threatening disease states that continue to plague the U.S. health care system. One FilmArray test available is the Blood Culture Identification Panel that identifies patients with sepsis. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. This can cause a cascade of changes that damage multiple organ systems, leading them to fail, sometimes even resulting in death. Mortality from sepsis increases 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed and as many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment. In the U.S., sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals.

“As a trained infectious disease specialist, I understand the magnitude of having innovative technology at your disposal to help diagnose disease states earlier and improve patient care,” said Roberta Luskin-Hawk, MD, chief executive. “St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County is committed to adopting the most innovative technology to support our primary focus of patient care, and now, thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, we will have access to faster lab results, allowing faster treatments and faster recoveries.”

The FilmArray is an FDA-cleared closed, self-contained, fully-integrated and automated molecular platform that produces accurate results in a timely manner with minimal risk of contamination. The FilmArray System integrates sample preparation, amplification, detection, and analysis all into one complete process that delivers complete comprehensive results in about an hour, giving faster results which may lead to better patient care. The system is designed to purify, concentrate, detect and identify targeted nucleic acid sequences, thereby delivering answers directly from unprocessed samples. The FilmArray System has a variety of configurations to meet the broad range of testing demands of any clinical environment.

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