LP Spring 2018 - 11

SPRING 2018

That success story is just one of many,
considering the hospital laboratory processes
more than 5,000 samples each day. The fact
that the improved technology may flag only
10 percent or fewer-down from 20 to 25
percent-of the daily results for a hands-on
review means the lab staff may be touching
500 fewer samples each day.
"This improvement in speed and accuracy
will enable laboratory specialists to spend
time analyzing and interpreting the results
that are really crucial," says Thomas Stipe,
manager of the Department of Pathology
and Laboratory Administration at Hershey
Medical Center. "It frees up time for essential
quality improvement efforts and communication with clinicians."
Greater automation and efficiency
improvements have enabled the laboratory
to expand its testing menu and availability
as well. Tests for hepatitis and insulin, for
instance, used to be available only certain
days of the week for a certain number of

hours. Now they are available 24/7. The system also paves the way for highly automated
retrieval of clinical samples for research.
The staff call the cobas 8100 "the track,"
and they describe it as a high-tech conveyor
belt. When a sample is placed on the system,
the cobas 8100 selects it with robotic arms,
scans the barcode to register all ordered
tests, and immediately starts processing the
sample. It then sends the sample down the
track to each analyzer required-making
stops at several machines when needed, with
a single tube of blood.
When testing is complete, the cobas 8100
places the sample into a temporary holding
area, automatically retrieving and retesting
it if the physician orders add-on testing for
the same patient after reviewing results. It
even automatically refrigerates and discards
the samples when appropriate.
"The workflow is very lean, and almost all
of the work is automated, so human error

is reduced and the medical technologists
have more time to work on other tasks,"
says Yusheng Zhu, PhD, medical director of
Hershey Medical Center's Clinical Chemistry/Automated Testing Laboratory. He also
co-directs the Pathology Core Reference Laboratory. "Our lab has developed computer
rules that the system follows for each type of
test. Now the technologists can work more
on patient safety and improving quality."
These improvements are at the core of why
the lab team opted for the system, despite
its price tag, the 18-month renovation, and
extensive personnel training required.
"I can't say enough how much we take it to
heart that the results we report out are accurate,
received in a timely manner, and meaningful
to the physician," Neibauer says. "With this
new system, the picture is filled in sooner, so
the doctor can make the right decision sooner.
It's great for patient care."

It s t im e to fo l l ow t h ro u gh o n

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LP Spring 2018

LP Spring 2018 - 1
LP Spring 2018 - 2
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