• Evaluation of Inappropriate COVID-19 RT-PCR Test Utilization at an Academic Medical Center.

      Hardy, Naomi L; Luethy, Paul M (Oxford University Press, 2021-11)
      BACKGROUND: An evolving COVID-19 testing landscape and issues with test supply allocation, especially in the current pandemic, has made it challenging for ordering providers. We audited orders of the Xpert® Xpress SARS-CoV-2 PCR with reverse transcription (RT-PCR) platform-the fastest of several other testing modalities available-to illuminate these challenges utilizing a multidisciplinary laboratory professional team consisting of a pathology resident and microbiology laboratory director. METHODS: Retrospective review of the first 5 hundred Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test orders from a 2-week period to determine test appropriateness based on the following indications: emergency surgery, emergent obstetric procedures, initial behavioral health admission, and later including discharge to skilled care facilities and pediatric admissions. Our hypothesis was that a significant proportion of orders for this testing platform were inappropriate. RESULTS: On review, a significant proportion of orders were incorrect, with 69.8% (n = 349, P < 0.0001) not meeting indications for rapid testing. Of all orders, 249 designated as emergency surgery were inappropriate, with 49.0% of those orders never proceeding with any surgical intervention; most of these were trauma related (64.6% were orders associated with a trauma unit). CONCLUSIONS: Significant, pervasive inappropriate ordering practices were identified at this center. A laboratory professional team can be key to identifying problems in testing and play a significant role in combating inappropriate test utilization.