Patient care often begins in the lab, which has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. CAMC’s Automated Procedures Lab (APL) was gearing up for its largest upgrade in more than 20 years just as COVID was on the rise in our community.
The APL is the core lab for general testing at CAMC.
“We perform chemistry, hematology, coagulation and urinalysis testing,” said Della Haynes, lab operations manager. “Our department includes a registration staff that processes over 500 registrations a day, on average, for specimens coming from all over West Virginia. We perform over 5 million tests annually.”
The new instruments went live in June 2020 and the automation in September 2020. The lab changed chemistry instrumentation and the automation line last in 2014.
“This one was a bigger change because we also renovated the department by taking out counter tops and installing new flooring and workbenches,” Haynes said.
This all took place all while dealing with COVID and increasing volumes. However, the automation allowed for a decrease in turnaround times.
“Our new automation line and chemistry instruments can handle a higher volume of work at a faster pace, so we can provide reliable and accurate results to physicians much faster,” Haynes explained. “We have added hematology and coagulation to the automation line. We also have implemented auto-verification with this new system.”
Automation and auto-verification allows the lab to be more standardized in its processes and eliminates stop points in testing. Software evaluates the results before the tech sees them. If there are no errors, the results are automatically verified into Cerner. This allows the medical technologist to focus on the most critical patients and their results.