Q&A: Sentara's Tabetha Sundin on the Challenges of Molecular Technology in the Clinic

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Last week, Virginia-based Sentara Consolidated Laboratory Services was designated a Roche Molecular Center of Excellence, one of 33 facilities to receive such designation, giving it access to molecular technologies from Roche that it may otherwise not have, as well as a voice to Roche as it further develops its technologies.

Sentara Healthcare, which comprises 12 hospitals, as well as urgent care centers, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities, first began moving into the molecular diagnostics space a decade ago. Yet, molecular-based testing still represents only a small fraction of the total number of tests performed by Sentara.

Cost considerations — both the price of the instruments, as well as for training personnel to use them — have posed barriers to adoption of molecular technologies. Additionally, despite advances in accuracy and speed offered by the new methods, older chemistry- and immune-based tests may actually have greater clinical utility for some circumstances.

Sentara Consolidated Laboratory Services Acting Director Tabetha Sundin spoke with 360Dx recently and said that while the use of molecular diagnostics is on the rise in the clinical setting, “the general patient walking in the door is probably not going to have a genetic test.”

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