In anticipation of opening a new state-of-the-art Core Lab, the process of updating instrumentation is underway. Last month ushered in the beginning of an approximately six-month endeavor to replace our workhorse chemistry and immunoassay instruments. At MuirLab on the Walnut Creek campus, 23 immunoassays went live. These included tests of thyroid function (e.g. 3rd generation TSH and Free T4), several therapeutic drugs, and several tumor markers. By early summer, all of the remaining 100 or so chemistry tests will be brought up on our new platform at MuirLab. Concurrently, all chemistry and immunochemistry testing on the Concord campus will make a change to the new instrumentation as well. By choosing a single manufacturer for all of these assays throughout the John Muir Health System, we are aiming for reproducible and reliable results with the same reference ranges no matter where the specimen is run. We are striving to make this transition as seamless as possible.
While the majority of the new assays will give nearly identical results as they do now because they are more standardized (e.g. electrolytes, proteins, therapeutic drugs, and lipids), there are several others that will show significant changes. This latter group includes such tests as tumor markers and enzymes. Because variations in assay format (i.e. reagents, antibodies, detection systems, etc.) are responsible for differences observed in the concentration of the tumor markers and enzymes when measured by different instruments, their values cannot be used interchangeably. As more of these tests get closer to being implemented, communiqués outlining their performance will be forthcoming.
As always, should there be any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call. Thank you.