FilmArray Delivers Test Results in An Hour

Posted on February 18, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Maybe it’s because I live in Utah, so it’s easier for me to recognize the technology being created here, but it seems as if lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of medical devices created here. Last night I was reading about a device that was recently designed that can apparently detect certain diseases — and, most impressively, in under an hour.

Waiting for lab results can be excruciating. Although I have access to the patient portal for Intermountain Healthcare, and can see results as soon as they are done (which is, most of the time, much faster than waiting for the doctor to call), it still takes longer than I would like. FilmArray is a test that can detect around 20 diseases in less than an hour.

The diseases that can be detected can be viral or bacterial, and are related to upper respiratory infections. This could be pretty helpful, especially when you or your child goes to the doctor, and they can’t really tell what’s wrong just by looking at them or listening to their lungs. It can help to get treatment started quicker, and hopefully shorten the length of the symptoms.

FilmArray also eliminates the need for someone to spend a ton of time in the lab working the results, as it takes less than about five minutes of a tech’s time. It’s a machine that is easy to learn how to use, so staff can be trained fairly easily, without much disruption in the regular schedule.

This graphic from the FilmArray website shows how easily it works, from start to finish:


The device has been available since 2011, though I don’t get the impression that it’s very mainstream yet. I think this could be a great thing for doctor’s offices and hospitals to invest it, because of it’s quickly produced results, and the ease of use involved. Even with an initial investment, it seems as if the time saved will pay it off in the end.