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Evaluation of molecular rapid respiratory virus testing for improving adult patient flow at Christchurch Hospital during the influenza season

A 2018/2019 Summer Studentship research project

The possible impact of this study:

  • Patients may have had a shorter time to transition from AMAU/Ed to a bed on a ward
  • Patients may have spent less unnecessary time in isolation (if they were proven to be influenza negative)
  • Patients had unnecessary antibiotics discontinued and were started earlier on antivirals if they were proven to be influenza positive

Student: Jawon Kim
Supervisor: Dr Anja Werno, Meik Dilcher
Sponsor: TBC

Project brief


Turn-around time for respiratory pathogen results, especially influenza viruses is important for patient flow, infection control practices and patient management. A heavy influenza season can contribute to put the hospital in grid lock. The CDHB currently provides a Mo–Fr 8am–5pm service for testing of respirator viruses by multiplex PCR with increased services on weekends during the winter season. No testing is done after 5pm.


A rapid molecular assay was assessed for its use and suitability as a replacement for our current testing regimen to increase testing to become a 24/7 service. The Roche Liat instrument is a point-of care instrument with a TAT of 20 minutes once the specimen has arrived in the lab. The use of the instrument was made available to Ed and AMAU for a 3-month period from 1st August – 1 October 2018.


Data was extracted from the lab information system (LIS) as well as from other patient management systems (PMS) with the help of data analysts from the Canterbury Initiative.

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student will help to analyse the data from LIS and PMS systems and will become a part of the team writing the findings up for publication.