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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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High-Tech Robotic Laboratory Processor at Houston VA Means Faster and More Accurate Test Results for Patients

February 2, 2005

High-Tech Robotic Laboratory Processor at Houston VA
Means Faster and More Accurate Test Results for Patients

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center only hospital in Houston with this cutting-edge laboratory technology.

Released February 2, 2005

HOUSTON - The state-of-the-art robotic processor system inside the laboratory at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) has drastically cut the time health care professionals wait for results of crucial medical tests. The MEDVAMC is the only facility in Houston to offer this important diagnostic technology to its patients.

“Our physicians are receiving test results 30 to 45 minutes faster with this new robotic processor. This cutting edge, state-of-the-art laboratory technology has definitely enhanced the quality of patient care here at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center,” said Valerie Coleman, MT(ASCP), CHS(ABHI), MEDVAMC laboratory manager.

The robotic processor runs up to 600 tests per hour and includes such safety and quality-control features as cap piercing, ‘flags’ when irregularities appear or results are outside normal ranges, automatic creation of slides when abnormalities are detected, and automatic clot detection.

“Our technicians can now focus on the exceptions, rather than the normal specimens. This unquestionably sets new standards in efficiency and test reliability,” said Coleman.

No longer do MEDVAMC phlebotomists sort samples by type of tests; they simply place by size into sectors and racks. The bar-coded samples are read by the processor and sorted by type of test. As a patient safety feature, the samples are read numerous times throughout the process. This automated machinery has eliminated the time-consuming manual steps in the traditional testing process and has saved countless man-hours.

Upon completion of the physician-requested testing on a specimen, it is electronically assigned a number by the processor and stored in an area called the stockyard for a specific time period. In the stockyard, a specimen can easily be retrieved and rerun for additional testing if needed.

“Doing away with the hands-on processes also reduces the risk of contamination and exposure for our staff members. This automated technology has enabled the MEDVAMC to enhance its entire testing process, from sample draw to final results,” said Coleman.

This full service robotic processor is easy to use and can be expanded with additional software in order to provide more complex processing and keep MEDVAMC health care providers equipped with the latest diagnostic tools.