The new DynaLife facility originally scheduled to open in St. Albert sometime before the end of the year, to coincide with the transition of all community lab work from Alberta Health Services to DynaLife, has been postponed till early next year.
A second DynaLife service centre in St. Albert has had its opening date pushed back to early next year.
The location was scheduled to open sometime before the end of the year and was to coincide with the transition of all community lab work from Alberta Health Services to DynaLife.
“It is currently under construction and we are expecting to open in January, 2023,” DynaLife spokesperson Cathy Kiss said in an email. The facility will be located in Tudor Glen Market.
In June, another DynaLife spokesperson, Stacey Martz, told the Gazette that the new DynaLife facility would open in St. Albert before the end of the year. Kiss did not provide an explanation for the postponement.
Starting Dec. 5, lab services at the Sturgeon Community Hospital will be limited to ambulatory patients and hospitalized patients, as well as immunocompromised patients and “special collections by physician or clinic referral only,” Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kristi Bland said in an email.
“This change will allow the hospital lab to enhance focus on the emergency, in-patient and urgent needs of acute and ambulatory hospital patients,” Bland said.
After Dec. 5, St. Albertans needing lab work such as blood tests, urinalysis, and glucose and lactose tolerance tests will need to do so through DynaLife.
“When DynaLife assumes operation of the community lab on (Dec. 5), the same offerings and level of service as (Alberta Precision Laboratories) will be provided, including supporting specialized patient populations such as infants, children, and immunocompromised patients,” said Bland. Alberta Precision Laboratories is the subsidiary of AHS that handles lab testing.
Kiss explained that in 2021 the DynaLife facility in St. Albert handled over 88,000 patients. Once the second patient centre opens next year, the two facilities combined will have the capacity to handle between 135,000 and 150,000 collections per year, Kiss said. Each DynaLife patient service centre only collects samples from patients, and testing is completed in DynaLife’s downtown Edmonton lab.
Bland did not answer the Gazette’s question regarding how many community lab tests are currently completed at the Sturgeon Community Hospital annually, to see if DynaLife’s planned capacity for St. Albert is equal to the capacity set to be transferred from the Sturgeon.
“Wait times for results will not be impacted,” Bland said.
“There will be no jobs lost in this transition in the community in St. Albert.”
Another change as a result of the transition of community lab work from APL to DynaLife is that Albertans will need to book appointments through DynaLife’s booking system.
“[APL] and DynaLife are working closely together on the IT transition of our two online booking systems that will all move under DynaLife’s Q.Me.2 booking system on Dec. 5,” Kiss said.
“There is no impact to patients using either booking systems before Dec. 5 and for those patients who will have made appointments prior to Dec. 5, for appointments after Dec. 5, will be migrated over to our new system without impact to that appointment.”
In a news release on Oct. 3, AHS said that walk-in patients arriving at a hospital lab after Dec. 5 will be directed to the nearest DynaLife service centre.
“As clients are currently able to book appointments 90 days in advance, clients looking to schedule an appointment in a hospital facility to take place after Dec. 5 will no longer see appointments available … effective Oct. 4,” AHS said in the Oct. 3 news release.
Many other community labs in hospitals in the Edmonton area will also be affected by the Dec. 5 transition date, including the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital; Grey Nuns Community Hospital; Misericordia Community Hospital; Royal Alexandra Hospital; the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, and more, AHS said.
“Contracting community lab services to DynaLife is expected to generate savings aligned with estimates in the AHS Review – money that can be used to support other priorities and services across the healthcare system,” Bland said.