Thomas Jefferson seeks to automate lab

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Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) in Philadelphia anticipates that its new laboratory testing services will enable the facility to process more than three times the amount of blood samples than before in a given time frame. The hospital is adopting an automated lab that includes a storage-and-retrieval system—from Roche Diagnostics—designed to increase testing capacity and efficiency.

The equipment will allow the laboratory to handle increased demand for diagnostic tests and speed the analytic process. Individual analyzers will be able to process 300 blood samples per hour with the new technology, up from 90 samples per hour with current equipment, according to a statement from the hospital. The hospital expects to process between 3,000 and 4,000 specimens daily and provide between two and three million test results annually.

The Roche system has a mechanical track-like conveyer belt controlled by a central station that manages each patient sample individually. Blood samples travel along the belt where they’re labeled, centrifuged and if necessary, sent to analyzers. Samples are then refrigerated and filed for possible later use. The refrigeration unit can store 27,000 test tubes, automatically retrieving them when additional testing is needed, and automatically discards those that are no longer needed.