Implementation of Rapid Respiratory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on site versus routine testing of respiratory viruses.

Mrs Anie Edward1

1Sunshine Hospital, St. Albans, Australia


In Victoria, there have been 22,277 confirmed cases of influenza with 37 people dying from this virus so far this year (Department of Health & Human Services, 2019). During the 2017 peak flu season (July – September) an average of 17 Respiratory Virus Polymerase chain reaction (RVPCR) tests were performed per day across our health service. Our health service anticipated an increased demand for testing of influenza in 2018 and introduced Xpert® Flu/RSV, a Rapid respiratory virus test, to improve the turnaround time (TATs) of influenza results from 24 hours to 90 minutes.  This project aligns with our Organization Strategic Plan: Growing and improving the delivery of safe, high quality care, delivering consistent care aligned with the Best Care Framework.


It was decided that this rapid respiratory PCR test will be available for a select group of Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients to assist with decision making of patient placement and Transmission Based Precaution requirements. ED directors developed a flow chart to support decision making regarding testing of patients  presenting with influenza like illness with the goal of being able to support patients in their home environment directly from ED. Rapid Respiratory PCR analysers have been installed at two of our health services sites.


Approximately 22 Rapid Respiratory Virus PCR tests were performed each day at our organization during the peak flu season.


The introduction of Rapid Respiratory PCR testing has provided timely results, decreasing inappropriate use of isolation rooms in hospital.


Currently working as an Infection Prevention Consultant, with over 25years diverse experience in various aspects of nursing including multiple leadership roles.

Responsible to coordinate and provide education programs as required specific to area of specialty and the individual learning needs of patients, their significant others, employees, students, community organisations and the wider public.

In addition, I provide guidance and advice on a broad range of Infection Prevention and Control issues, to promote best practice and continuous improvement strategies and services to maximise their effectiveness.

Other responsibilities include to design, collect, analyse and disseminate surveillance data on specialty related key performance indicators and undertake further investigation where indicated.

Completed Master of Science in Nursing Management as well as Master of Infection Prevention and Control.


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