Sometimes we can process a wound swab from start to finish without ever knowing why it has been taken. It could literally be anything from a “burst pimple”, to a burns patient with a severely infected skin graft.
Insisting on clinical details goes some way to solving this problem, but even then, the details provided may not accurately convey the type or severity of the infection.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had each patient right in front of us whilst processing the wound swab? Obviously this is not practical. However if we could view a photographic image of the infection, it would immediately contextualise the wound swab that we are processing.
With the current advances in electronic requesting, such a facility is not out of the question. Dermatologists use a lot of digital imaging these days. So why not microbiologists?
Pictures are often better than words…
And when validating the report, I could then have even more information at hand:- The result, the Kiestra digital plate images, the request form and a digital image of the infection site on the patient.
Quality assurance by using all the evidence.
… And requestors might also think twice about sending in swabs of burst pimples if they also needed to provide a picture of the infection as well!
p.s. There are many dubious reasons for taking microbiological samples, as there are often multiple agendas at play…