JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Health systems are bracing for flu season amid a pandemic, and Ballad Health is hoping to get a head-start.
Ballad Health said it is working on expanding its in-house testing capacity.
Due to multiple viruses circulating during a typical cold and flu season, Ballad Health hopes a new tool will help identify exactly which virus a patient has.
“Were working with our partner, Cepheid Inc. That’s a diagnostic company. We’ll be able to offer a test that identifies implements of A and B, RSV and COVID-19,” Ballad Health chief infection prevention officer, Jamie Swift said.
The health system hopes this will increase turnaround times for patients. It will also increase how testing is done at urgent cares.
Swift said, “It’s one test to one swab, to test for all four of those viruses. That’s certainly much better for the patient.”
Meanwhile, Ballad Health is actively working to improve patient recovery outcomes by asking for more convalescent plasma donors.
“Based on the scientific evidence that’s become available, the FDA concluded that the plasma may be effective in treating COVID-19 patients and that the known and potential benefits of the product out-way any unknown or potential risks of use of the product,” Ballad Health chief nursing officer, Lisa Smithgall said.
Ballad Health is part of the Mayo Clinic study and has been able to treat patients with this plasma since April. According to the health system, roughly 400 plasma donations have occurred.
“For patients who have moderate COVID-19 symptoms, convalescent plasma has been shown to keep them from developing those more life-threatening complications that Eric [Deaton] was alluding to. We have patients who’ve told us that they feel that plasma treatment saved their life,” Smithgall said.
The study for the effectiveness of convalescent plasma is still ongoing. Chief infection prevention officer Jamie Swift added, they are simultaneously treating patients with other options along with convalescent plasma.