Training costs and investment payback of implementing molecular diagnostics for identification of vancomycin resistant enterococci in a clinical microbiology laboratory
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Molecular diagnostics may be a more efficient method to manage resources; but most Microbiology laboratories have not introduced them into routine use due to the specialized training required. Using vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) screening during a comparison of a multiplex PCR (MPCR) and conventional biochemical testing (CBT) we studied 3 objectives: 1) to develop a molecular diagnostics in-house training program, 2) to assess the training program outcomes for competency and confidence, and 3) to determine laboratory payback. A training program for 14 technologists using multiple adult learning methods was implemented. Methods to minimize technical errors were introduced and included: use of a calibrated loop to deliver sample; prealiquotting reagents; increasing volume of specimen; addition of gel loading dye directly into reaction tubes; and establishment of an equivocal zone. In our laboratory MPCR costs $7.06 less than CBT, therefore the payback period for training and implementation would be approximately 3 years.
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