New Lab Equipment to Reduce Testing Time at Hospital

Blood test from a vein by female doctor in white medical gloves on blue pillow that is on the table in white bright room. In the foreground stands stand with the test tubes with blood.

ROCK SPRINGS — Some lab tests at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County will soon be turning out results in only hours, greatly reducing the wait time from what can now be 4-5 days.

The BioFire tabletop analyzer, a $50,400 piece of equipment, is soon to join the battery of testing equipment in the Memorial Hospital’s lab thanks to the Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The foundation’s executive director, Tiffany Marshall, made a presentation to the hospital’s board of trustees last night. Marshall said events like the Red Tie Gala, an event that is coming up again in February, make purchases like that possible.

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Robin Snowberger, the laboratory supervisor, said this molecular testing equipment will be able to analyze pathogens to rapidly determine whether it’s viral, bacterial, or a parasite–sometimes within an hour.

For example, said Snowberger, sometimes patients come in with diarrhea and the doctors don’t know why. It can take 4-5 days for testing, growing out plates with the microbiology to see what bacteria or parasites common to this area are present.

They are also able to test for viruses they currently aren’t able to test for, such as Norovirus, the gastrointestinal illness known for ruining vacations on cruise liners.

“This is going to save us 4+ days. We are going to be able to turn out tests rapidly and we won’t be giving antibiotics unnecessarily,” said Snowberger. While the machine won’t replace all the testing, such as sensitivity tests that will confirm machine’s findings, Swowberger said it will greatly reduce the wait times.

Read more about the BioFire equipment at the company’s website here.