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Infection control in the hospital 

Infection control in the hospital
Chapter:
Infection control in the hospital
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0020
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date: 19 November 2019

In order to obtain maximum benefit from laboratory testing, the requester should understand both the intrinsic accuracy of the test and how care with sample collection and handling optimizes the test performance. Positive and negative predictive values (the probabilities that an individual with a positive test result has the condition or that an individual with a negative test result does not have the condition) are the most useful measures of test accuracy, because they are influenced by the prevalence of the condition in the population being tested. Sample collection and transport to the laboratory are the pre-analytical phase of diagnostic testing; it is important that samples are collected promptly and carefully, using the correct materials, and that they are delivered promptly to the laboratory with adequate clinical information. Microscopy and culture remain the mainstay of diagnosis of most bacterial infections; increasing use of automation is facilitating more rapid and accurate identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of pathogens. Molecular biology techniques are becoming increasingly widely used to detect a much wider range of pathogens than has been possible before. However, these tests are not a panacea; they are expensive and not always as sensitive or specific as might be expected.

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