Bronson Healthcare relocates testing lab

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The full-service testing lab provides a broad array of clinical services to Bronson system hospitals, practices and outpatient clinics, as well as other providers and health care facilities throughout southwest Michigan. Courtesy Bronson Healthcare

Bronson Healthcare’s main testing laboratory now has its own dedicated space across the street in a newly constructed building at 400 John St. in downtown Kalamazoo.

The testing lab previously operated on the Bronson Methodist Hospital North Campus. The full-service testing lab provides a broad array of clinical services to Bronson system hospitals, practices and outpatient clinics, as well as other providers and health care facilities throughout southwest Michigan. It processes orders received from lab draw sites but is not itself a site for patients to go to for specimen collection.

The 55,000-square-foot facility consists of three floors with dedicated areas for education, office and meeting spaces, in addition to the clinical areas. It is designed with a focus on modularity and utilizes new equipment for a streamlined end-to-end process that improves efficiency and turnaround time. The design also allows for flexible usage and is adaptable to changing needs.

“Our new lab has the flexibility to handle not only present needs but also expected future growth as laboratory science continues to provide expanding diagnostic possibilities,” said Lois Van Enk, system director of Bronson Laboratory Services. “With over 300 staff who complete more than 3.5 million orders per year, we look forward to having more space and new technology to support this important work.”

The concept of adaptability proved its value when the Bronson lab team had to adapt existing platforms to support COVID-19 testing. Four COVID-19 testing platforms were quickly created to support both polymerase chain reaction testing and antibody testing. When the pandemic began, tests had to be sent out of state for processing. Having the ability to process them in-house shrunk turnaround time at Bronson from a week or more to the same day.

The Bronson laboratory staff includes certified clinical laboratory scientists, phlebotomists, lab assistants, cytologists, histologists and pathology assistants. The medical staff includes 12 board-certified anatomic and clinical pathology physicians who have additional board certifications in cytology, hematopathology, molecular pathology, and subspecialties of surgical pathology, including dermatopathology.

The Bronson lab is fully accredited by the College of American Pathologists and meets all standards of The Joint Commission. Tower Pinkster designed the new space, and CSM Group provided construction management.

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