12/07/2006 • Laboratory diagnostics

New Approach to Integrated Workstations

Demand for efficient disease management requires laboratories to rethink their testing requirements. High-volume workloads are driven by the availability of new assays and demand for a broader menu. This should include blood viruses and infectious diseases alongside cancer, cardiac, anaemia, reproductive and other endocrine tests. Workstation consolidation is gaining favour as a solution.

As labs merge or form partnerships, staff move between locations with satellites feeding into the central hub. For this to work, labs must use the same technology and reagents, providing uniform results. Consolidation of chemistry and immunoassay testing on one hybrid platform produces a synchronised instrument with one entry point for samples. But it can only deliver significant turnaround time improvements, if the integrated workstation also performs parallel processing of chemistry and immunoassay tests. This reduces bottlenecks caused by the different performances of individual analysers. Modern, high-volume immunoassay analysers run up to 400 tests per hour, while clinical chemistry systems perform up to 1,440 tests in the same period.

Addressing these workstation consolidation issues has been a priority for Beckman Coulter with its integrated UniCel laboratory systems and the new UniCel DxC 880i Clinical System (In development, pending achievement of CE compliance; not yet available for in vitro diagnostic use). A prototype is now being exhibited throughout Europe until EuroMedLab 2007 in Amsterdam. For specific viewing locations, please contact your local Beckman Coulter office.

As well as parallel processing, the technology delivers the safety and time-saving benefits of automated aliquotting (CTA) and closed tube sampling (CTS), already on their chemistry systems. Closed-tube cap-piercing is rare in clinical chemistry and immunology, although common to haematology. Aliquotting speeds up retesting or additional testing. The DxC 880i offers more than 150 tests with onboard capacity of 120. Reagents can be loaded while the system is running. The compact UniCel CTA fits between the chemistry analyser (UniCel DxC 800) and the immunoassay system (UniCel DxI 800) to form the integrated DxC 880i.

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