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TMF Transforms Workflow and Drives Better Patient Care

“We chose this solution for several important reasons,” said Maggert. “First, the assay offered excellent ease of use. There is no sample extraction involved, which from a technical perspective, made it much faster and more user-friendly than what we currently had. Setting up a run is quick — less than 15 minutes — and turnaround time was faster, too. I could now get eight test results within an hour, compared to our previous assay, which required about four hours for a run.This provided walk - away convenience for our techs, and better turnaround time for our clients, which translates into better patient care.”

The Simplexa® platform also helped solve another serious challenge for the lab. In the past, a laboratory technician could spend 3.5 hours doing sample extraction, only to get invalid sample results occasionally during testing, which forced the need to repeat the whole process. Not only was this scenario frustrating for the techs, it was costly for the lab in terms of time and labor.

“The new platform eliminated our problem of getting invalid, undeliverable results, which happened with our previous solution a bit too often,” said Maggert. “After we switched to the new instrument and assay, that challenge virtually disappeared. We saved money by not having to repeat tests; and the elimination of the extraction step provided significant time savings, helping us save even more in labor costs.”

By switching its influenza A/B and RSV testing to the Simplexa® platform, the lab achieved its primary performance goal. The lab also experienced a reduction in overall turnaround time (from test receipt to reported result).  Their previous 18-hour average turnaround time dropped to six hours — just one-third of its previous time.

The Improvements Continue with HSV 1 & 2 for CSF

 

The Medical Foundation’s lab was so happy with its Simplexa® solution, it decided to investigate other solutions that could drive additional performance improvements. It was highly interested in adding Simplexa® HSV 1 & 2 for CSF to its test mix, and after the kit received FDA clearance, the lab added this assay in May 2016.

“Our transition to the Simplexa HSV 1 & 2 for CSF assay was less about cost savings, and more about the improved turnaround time that would benefit our clients,” said Maggert. “When you also consider the robustness of the assay, the elimination of the extraction step and the overall instrument ease of use for our staff, it was an easy decision.”

Indeed, this lab’s efforts paid off. After adding the Simplexa® HSV 1 & 2 for CSF assay, the lab was able to reduce turnaround time by 50%.

 

“On our previous platform, which required extraction before running the assay, we averaged about 20 hours from specimen receipt to test completion,” said Maggert. “With the new platform, it’s only about 10 hours. In addition, if we get a request for a STAT result, we can get that out quickly — often within 90 minutes.”

Ease of use also improved, particularly with the assay’s consumables and reagents. Because Simplexa® reagents are pre-aliquotted, technicians can use the exact number of vials needed per run, without wasting any reagents. Because the reagents are barcoded, the lab has a reduced risk of clerical errors during data entry.

 

“All of these benefits were not present on our previous platform,” said Maggert. “Today, they all work together to save us time, help us deliver results faster and free our technicians to work on other things.”

This heightened labor efficiency is important, especially in light of the industry’s ongoing labor shortage.

“Like many labs, we struggle to find enough people to hire — there just aren’t enough trained personnel to fill open positions, so we’re always looking for ways to automate, save time and save costs,” said Maggert. “Plus, molecular diagnostics is a growing field, and we are continually adding new tests to meet our physicians’ demands. As our testing volume increases, the continued demand on our existing workforce will just get tougher, so the more we can drive efficiency through automation, the better.”

Better Prepared for the Future

By transitioning to new solutions from DiaSorin Molecular, The Medical Foundation has experienced a number of significant gains in performance and productivity. The lab is also better prepared for the future — and the testing that is bound to come with it.

“With the recent transfer of a high-volume molecular test (CT/NG) to the flow cytometry/molecular department, we witnessed a greater than a 100% increase in annual testing volume — from about 42,000 tests in 2015 to a projected 94,800 in 2016 — without any additional technical staff,” said Maggert. “Our new instrument and assay platform helps us add testing due to its workflow and ease-of-use.”

More importantly, the lab is thrilled with how the new platform is benefiting patients.

“Today, we are helping deliver better patient care because doctors are getting their results more quickly,” said Maggert. “This is particularly important to one of our large hospital clients because they don’t release their patients from isolation until they get some of these results. Faster results means reduced hospital costs and improved patient care. Overall, making this transition has been a very positive experience for our molecular pathology laboratory.”