Advancements for the Hematology Laboratory

New and better solutions for the hematology laboratory were at the center of a virtual roundtable, led by CAP TODAY publisher Bob McGonnagle. Here, Linda Garlaus MT ASCP Senior Manager for Hematology Product Management shares her insights.
Advancements for the Hematology Laboratory

Laboratorians are fundamental to today’s complex healthcare systems, providing clinicians with vital results necessary for diagnosing, treating and managing patient health. Hematology is an integral part of the clinical lab. The technological advances incorporated into hematology analyzers are helping laboratorians with everything from automating more processes and supporting advanced cellular analyses to reducing manual differentials.

Addressing the Key Challenges Within Laboratories

For several years, laboratories have been struggling with staffing shortages—especially in the area of hematopathology. To combat these shortages, we, as industry partners, need to support workflow improvements, including both workflow efficiencies and operational excellence. And to truly understand what is going on in the hospitals, we need to talk to those who are doing the work and experiencing the pain. Rolling out a “solution” only works if it addresses the actual problem. Our goal is to improve the accuracy and quality of clinical lab analyses while reducing turnaround times.

Eliminating Unnecessary Manual Microscopy

Traditionally, peripheral blood smear (PBS) analysis has been performed manually. To improve both speed and accuracy, we need to lean in to technology. Recently, we announced our partnership with Scopio Labs. Their Full-Field Peripheral Blood Smear Application with an AI-powered Decision Support System has been shown to reduce turnaround times by up to 60%1,2 without ever touching a microscope.3 Slides are digitized from the monolayer to the feathered edge. Incorporating AI into the platform saves time and aids in clinical diagnosis by pre-classifying cells prior to expert review – which can be done from anywhere within the hospital system’s secure network. Adding this technology to our suite of innovations is improving hematology diagnostic clinical workflows for lab and clinical professionals.

Improving Clinical Decision Making in the ED

When we roll out a solution, it needs to meet our customers’ needs. For example, in developing our novel MDW (Monocyte Distribution Width) parameter, we brought critical care and emergency medicine physicians together with laboratorians into the development to understand their pain points and identify the problems they were facing. We then developed a screening tool that is not just a powerful early sepsis identification solution, but also a parameter that, as part of the CBC with Differential, fits seamlessly into standard Emergency Department testing. We’re doing the same thing now with our collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital to further advance sepsis diagnosing in pediatric patients. This pivotal, multi-center trial has received funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Sepsis, of course, is a global health crisis and a medical emergency. But it’s not the only medical emergency, which is why we have a full suite of advanced in vitro diagnostic parameters to aid in monitoring disease progression and treatment. Clinicians rely on these advanced hematology parameters to aid in clinical decision making and provide the best possible treatment to their patients.

When You Trust Your Equipment, You Trust Your Results

We continue to innovate to create novel technologies to streamline processes and provide optimal workflow integrations. We achieve this in a few ways. First, through dependability. Our analyzers are highly reliable—providing the right results on the first run. Second, through operational excellence—keeping your workflow on track. We bring our award-winning DxS Service and Support to the table to help minimize downtime, drive efficiency and maximize performance. We’re decreasing turnaround times through operational excellence, so you and your staff can focus on adding value to patient outcomes and the care continuum.

Automation, Algorithms and AI

Getting rapid, reliable results is further enhanced by automation. Automation helps support the staffing challenges labs are facing. Our portfolio of automation systems empowers laboratories to dedicate themselves to the high-value work that elevates healthcare.

Advances in clinical decision support (CDS) are also helping with staffing challenges. Whether it's a technology or a complex algorithm that looks at the data, these technologies can simplify workflow and, more importantly, provide valuable information to aid in decision support. In October, we announced our acquisition of StoCastic as part of our plans to develop a full portfolio of CDS solutions. StoCastic offers a triage decision support tool that integrates electronic health records and emergency department workflows. Combining our biomarkers with this evidence-based CDS will help hospitals generate advanced decision support insights.

What makes Beckman Coulter Hematology Analyzers Unique?

Innovation. Plain and simple. It’s one of the things we’re most proud of at Beckman Coulter. Our commitment to innovation dates back to our origin in 1935 and continues to this day.

Read the full CAPToday article featuring Beckman Coulter and fellow industry experts discussing hematology innovations and the future of hematology.

1M. Filbin et al, Critical Care Medicine 2018; 46:1592–1599

2Filbin, Michael R; Thorsen, Jill E; Lynch, James; Gillingham, Trent D; Pasakarnis, Corey L; et al. Scientific Reports (Nature Publisher Group); London Vol. 8, (Jul 2018): 1-10. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-29427-1

3 C. Rhee et al., Critical Care (2016) 20:89

4 Pierrakos, C., Vincent, J. Sepsis biomarkers: a review. Crit Care 14, R15 (2010) doi:10.1186/cc8872

5 S. Fernando et al, Critical Care (2018) 22:172

6 Ibid.

7 Conn, J. “Galbos still dealing with daughter's death from sepsis.” Herald & Review, Aug. 28, 2016. Last accessed: Feb. 26, 2020.

8Woman’s Sepsis Pregnancy Nightmare and Positive Outlook in the Face of Tragedy. The Doctors. Last accessed: Feb. 26, 2020.

9Katie Ceschin McQuestion. Last accessed: Feb. 26, 2020.

Linda Garlaus
Linda Garlaus
Linda Garlus is a hematology product manager with more than 20 years of experience in developing clinical diagnostics products. She has been with Beckman Coulter for 32 years.

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