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Lab automation

Brantford opens multi-disciplinary automated lab

BRANTFORD, Ont. – Two months after performing Canada’s first custom knee replacement surgeries, the Brant Community Healthcare System has implemented yet another innovation with the opening of Canada’s first multi-discipline, automated hospital laboratory at the Brantford General Hospital.

“Our laboratory contributes significantly to the patient-centered care we provide,” Jim Hornell (pictured), President & CEO, Brant Community Healthcare System (Brantford General Hospital and The Willett Hospital, Paris) said.

“Physicians develop patient care plans based on various diagnostic tests, including the results of blood and other biological specimens that our laboratory technologists complete. They take great pride in their work and the automated laboratory will enhance their performance even more.”

“Siemens is extremely excited about partnering with such a technologically progressive healthcare institution as the Brant Community Healthcare System,” said Jim Graziadei, Senior Vice President, Siemens Canada, Healthcare Sector. “Our state-of-the-art laboratory automation solutions are perfectly aligned with Brantford’s overall vision of innovative healthcare.”

The Siemens ADVIA LabCell automates chemistry, immunochemistry, hematology and coagulation into a single integrated system. According to Don Manning, Director – Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging at the Brant Community Healthcare System, less blood is now required from patients to perform laboratory tests and the results are provided to physicians as much as 40% faster utilizing existing technology with the new automation software.

“Less interaction with patient samples is always better,” Manning said. “We complete upwards of 2-million tests a year and our accuracy rate is over 99%, which is considered outstanding in the industry. We pride ourselves in getting it right, and this new technology will ensure this even more.”

A key component is the Siemens central data management system that allows operators to manage data from multiple analyzers and disciplines through one workstation. “With patient volumes consistently increasing and ongoing workforce challenges, laboratories are compelled to implement technology to assist in managing these trends. With a worldwide installed base of over 650 automation solutions, Siemens has proven that ADVIA LabCell is a solution that can have a significant positive impact on laboratory productivity and efficiency,” said Tony Lamanna, General Manager, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

“Patient samples collected at the bedside have a unique patient identifier attached and are then managed individually in the laboratory by the new automation system,” said Dr. Kathy Chorneyko, Medical Director – Laboratory, Brant Community Healthcare System. “The samples are then sorted and any pre-analytical requirements are determined and travel along a mechanical track and are routed for optimal processing efficiency before being archived.”

Two features of the new Siemens system enhance accuracy. The auto-validation ensures the laboratory technologists review any abnormal results and a re-test feature confirms all results, providing physicians and patients with peace of mind knowing the results have been double-checked.

The Brant Community Healthcare System administration was also aware of another important factor when considering laboratory automation. “The workforce is changing rapidly in Canada,” Manning said. “Forty-four percent of medical laboratory technologists will become eligible for retirement in the next five years. We certainly considered this as we developed our business case so we can continue to perform high-volume blood testing within available recourses.”

Installation of the $2-million system at the Brantford General began a couple of years ago and now that it is operating, the newfound excess capacity, and the advantages of the state-of-the-art technology is being offered to other hospital laboratories. Already one hospital has made arrangements to have their laboratory work completed by the Brant Community Healthcare System laboratory.

Posted February 10, 2011