Alternative Strategies to Provide Actionable Results When a Supply of Urinalysis Strips Is Unavailable

Jeannette Guarner,Geoffrey H. Smith,David N. Alter, Cecellitha J. Williams,Lisa Cole, Davette G. Campbell, Suzanne M. Elsea, Stacian Reynolds, Christine Lawrence


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Context.-Urinalysis instrument-specific dip strips offer physicians qualitative results for actionable analytes (protein, glucose, leukocyte esterase, nitrates, hemoglobin, and ketones). Objective.-To explain a strategy implemented to support clinical decision -making by providing urine quantification of protein, glucose, white blood cells (WBCs), and red blood cells because of urine strip shortages. Design.-During shortages, we implemented an automated algorithm that triggered sending urine samples to the automation line for quantification of protein and glucose and ensured that urine microscopy was performed to obtain WBC and red blood cell counts. The algorithm printed 2 labels so nursing staff would collect 2 specimens. We monitored the turnaround time from the specimen being received in the laboratory to result verification, ensured that the culture reflex order was triggered, and tracked complaints by physicians regarding not having usual urinalysis results. Prior to implementation, correlation between sample types for protein and glucose measurement was found acceptable. Results.-The algorithm was put in place twice during 2022. The turnaround time of urine microscopic study was identical to that obtained when the urinalysis was done with the strips; however, the quantification of glucose and protein took approximately 30 minutes more. Urine reflex cultures were triggered correctly with the algorithm, as they were derived entirely from a WBC count higher than 10 per high -power field. During the shortage period we had only 1 complaint, by a physician wanting to have results of nitrates. Conclusions.-During urine strip shortages, we successfully implemented a diversion algorithm that provided actionable urinalysis analytes in a timely manner with minimal provider complaints.
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