St. Francis Hospital unveils first fully automated lab

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s the first fully automated laboratory of its kind in North America and it’s right here in Connecticut. St. Francis Care Health System in Hartford is unveiling the nearly $6 million upgrade.

It took a lot of planning and three years alone to replace the old technology with the ‘state of the art’ instruments. It all comes down to improving the quality of patient care. This high tech laboratory is the first of its kind in North America. The 4200 square foot space is on the fifth floor of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.  The full service automated lab  can now process up to 1,200 patient samples an hour.

“It’s all about improving efficiency, providing test results in a very timely fashion, to improve patient care and patient safety,” said  Kathleen Luczyk.

A tube system transports samples coming in from every department. Kathleen Luczyk oversees the entire operation.

“There’s a lot of hands off of the specimen itself, there’s an improvement that people are not exposed to bio hazards,” said Luczyk.

After information is embedded onto a bar code the tubes are qued up for processing. The bar code is scanned then the robotics computer takes over, routing each one to the proper automated line.

“Everything is bar coded so the computers can read that and determine which analyzers are go to hit for more effective turn around time, and if we have a machine down for quality control or maintenance, the computer knows that and it just diverts it,” said Luczyk.

“What would have taken a day or two days to get a result back, we can do on set now, in a matter of less than an hour with some of these tests,” said Leigh Mazerolle, supervisor.

“If it’s abnormal, we have what we call a command central, that result pops up and our technical staff review that result and determine what they need to do, is it a repeat, is it a bad sample all together in a collection perspective,” said Luczyk.

Increasing the rate of accuracy and improving the quality of patient care.

“Let’s say a patient is in the emergency room and their families are concerned about what is or isn’t going on with the patient. So the faster we can give quality results to the provider, the provider can address the patient’s needs,” said Mazerolle.

The technologists perform about 5 million tests yearly.

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