A concept graphic showing different providers in front of a gastrointestinal image

Molecular Diagnostic PCR Testing vs. Culture Testing

In 2018, the University of Florida (UF) Health Shands Hospital conducted a study designed to analyze clinical data surrounding the downstream impacts of implementing PCR gastrointestinal pathogen testing.

The findings were that conventional methods — like stool culture sampling — were “time-consuming and expensive” and offered “limited sensitivity” in comparison to PCR testing.

Research Overview

UF Health Shands Hospital found that “there were 19 (7.9% of total and 24% of positive specimen) samples with more than one organism identified by the GI panel.”



Time Averages for Results Additional Testing Requirements
GI panel results — 8.94 hours GI panel — 0.58 additional stool tests
Stool culture tests — 54.75 additional stool tests Stool culture tests — 3.02 additional stool tests

Cost-Benefit Analysis


Value for
GI panel patients

Value for
Historical Controls

Cost difference

per patient

Mean hospital stay cost ($)




Mean radiology costs ($)




Mean laboratory testing costs ($)




Net difference per patient ($)


In summary, thanks to PCR…

  • Patient hospital stays would be reduced by at least half a day
  • Health care costs would decrease by an average of $293.61 per patient

Comparison & Conclusions

Thanks to this study, we can see how molecular diagnostic PCR testing saves physicians and patient both time and money.

This is because PCR testing…

  • Detected more pathogens than a culture test usually would
  • Reduced or eliminated the need for extra tests such as imaging

Overall, PCR testing…

  • Reduced the length of time a patient needed to stay in the hospital
  • Reduced the length of time it took to administer the correct antibiotics
  • Reduced the length of time a patient needed to remain on antibiotic medication
  • Reduced isolation costs in instances wherein a patient needed to be quarantined

Are you interested in integrating PCR testing into your practice processes as a provider? Are you looking for a reliable reference lab to partner with for fast, accurate, and convenient results? Then we would be happy to help you with our GastroPath™ test.

To learn more or get started today, simply contact NCF Diagnostics & DNA Technologies by calling (352) 375-5553.