Fabiana, head of the hematology department at CientíficaLab, finished collecting the last sample from the track as the clock pointed to 7 pm. Getting off work at such an early time would have been rare before.
In recent years, along with developments in hierarchical care and precision medicine, third-party private labs have been developing and expanding, complementing public medical institutions' diagnosis capacity. Owned by one of the largest diagnostic laboratory chains globally, CientíficaLab provides clinical analysis service to 26 hospitals and 883 outpatient units in the Brazilian public sector. CientfifaLab's headquarters alone performs 3,000,000 different tests per month, with up to 9,000 hematology tests each day- totaling nearly 2,820,000 a year. However, due to the low gross profit margins and large volumes of samples, there is stiff competition between labs. Strengthen testing capability while increasing revenue is a priority for labs.
Previously, technicians at the hematology department worked with only 13 stand-alone hematology analyzers and 2 blood slide makers. Work efficiency was low. It took 10-12 staff working on three shifts to complete the samples of the day. And outdated devices were often down, waiting for repairments and recalibration. As a result, it could take as long as 10 hours to complete tests – 2-3 hours longer than the industry average. When there was an abnormal sample, staff had to transfer the piece to slide makers while printing the paper report, running between two sets of devices some distance apart. A backup of slides awaiting testing could occur in this process, and the staff was soon overwhelmed. The lab was weighed down by the outdated equipment and a badly-structured workflow.
"Technicians have complained that they need to work three hours of overtime per person per day even taking shifts." According to Mindray Project Manager Zhang Junwei, "Their complaints confirmed the project team's thinking that the cause of the lab's overwhelming workload is that the inefficient workflow."
After an in-depth visit of the customer's actual work scenario, Mindray project team decided that the most urgent task was to upgrade the equipment to provide high throughput and efficient sample processing. Deployed two sets of CAL 8000 Cellular Analysis Lines, each connecting 4 units of BC-6800Plus Auto Hematology Analyzers and 1 unit of SC-120 Auto Slide Maker Stainer, allowing technicians to efficiently complete the seamless workflow ranging from sample loading, testing, and abnormal sample review to cleaning.
In addition to testing efficiency, test results' accuracy and reliability also help third-party labs obtain public hospitals' recognition. Mindray CAL 8000's LabXpert data analysis software can automatically detect abnormal samples. Its large-screen alarm and flagging features effectively improve testing accuracy so that technicians can feel confident in doing daily testing without distraction.
But labs' requirements go far beyond this. To gain accurate results, a lab needs to make testing quality controllable and process traceable. We customized the slide machine barcode software on the slide makers based on the intensive testing work of CientíficaLab. On identifying an abnormal sample, a technician only needs to print the barcode and transfer samples to do a microscopic review easily. Furthermore, to reduce reagent consumption resulting from a backlog of abnormal samples, Mindray optimized CAL 8000's slide cache module. When a staff conducts a manual review, the slides can be cached on the line. When dealing with multiple abnormal samples, CAL 8000's monitoring module promptly alerts the technician to help the lab eliminate waste of reagents.
Of course, things won't always go well. While the automation line met customers' demands, its vast volume required the lab to take space into account when configuring the line. Installing two CAL 8000 Cellular Analysis Lines required enough room for two aisles, putting even more pressure on the labs' constrained space.
After repeatedly simulating technician's work routes, Mindray came up with a tailor-made solution: two automated lines are installed face-to-face, but re-configuring one of them to make its sample route in the same direction as the other. This unique design made it possible for only one technician to quickly handle a large volume of samples on both lines simultaneously, allowing the shortest and most time-saving work routes.
Moreover, during the conversion, Mindray was in constant communication with the lab to know deeply about the lab's layout and the placement of utility lines and quickly completed a customized deployment without interruption to current work.
Audrei Reberto Bertini, Production Manager at CientíficaLab, was delighted with the customized results." With the upgrade of the entire equipment and the laboratory layout's optimization, the same workflow requires less staffing. Our production efficiency has increased by 50%" （quote）
Since implementing Mindray's tailor-made solution, CientíficaLab has seen a remarkable leap in its work efficiency and performance. Now the lab can quickly process test reports, with a 50% rise in testing productivity. The staff can now work with greater ease and take on a heavier workload. The average volume of samples that each technician can process has surged from 1,300 to 2,000 per day. The retest rate at CientíficaLab has plunged from 14% to 3%. Mindray's hematology parameters, which are of great clinical significance, also boost technician's confidence.
Driven by Mindray's Scenovaton philosophy, Mindray helped the lab optimize its workflow, improve management efficiency, and provide medical staff with an ideal workplace. We will continuously enable more and more third-party labs worldwide like CientíficaLab to unleash their potential to achieve efficient operation and reduce costs and become great partners for the public medical system.