Q: What are the types of challenges your lab faces when having to manually aliquot patient sample material from the primary vial into a secondary tube prior to running an HPV test?
A: As a laboratory, it is vital that we ensure the quality and accuracy of each result we release. We have an obligation to verify that we utilize the correct specimen, aliquot the correct volume, and avoid human errors and cross-contamination. All of this takes time, effort and money.
With manual pipetting, as volume increases, so does the risk of introducing human error due to fatigue and repetitive motion. Automation can greatly reduce these risks as well as allow our highly skilled employees to focus their efforts on more complex functions that utilize their knowledge and expertise.
Q: What do you think each of these challenges costs your lab in time, resources, efficiency, etc. which could be better spent on productive work?
A: As a CAP/CLIA accredited laboratory in California, all our molecular testing is performed by licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLS). These individuals are highly trained, skilled and well compensated, so automation that can help minimize the time they spend performing manual tasks equates to real cost-savings for our laboratory.
Q: What would the value be to you or your staff, if you were able to load the primary LBC sample vial received from cytology directly on to your HPV platform post cytology in an attempt to reduce potential aliquoting challenges?
A: It would be a great advantage...An automated system would create a much smoother, streamlined and efficient process that would not only help reduce errors, but also decrease the repetitive motion associated with manual pipetting. The challenges that we face daily are turnaround time and ensuring that we meet or exceed our clients' expectations. Anything that we can do to make the testing process more efficient is something that we are very interested in exploring.
Q: If you could tell a colleague one or two things about the challenges with aliquoting and/or advantages of loading the primary vial like we just discussed, what would they be?
A: The biggest advantage is the elimination of multiple manual steps. This helps avoid cross contamination and significantly reduces labor time and costs.
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Business Development, Pathology, Inc.