CEO SUMMARY: Microbiologists at the University of North Carolina are using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to slash the time to answer and significantly cut lab costs. Their goals are to improve patient outcomes and reduce average length of stay. In a one-year study presented last month, UNC microbiologists reported that consumable costs for many microbiology tests
Laboratory EquipmentSkip to articles
Laboratory equipment for clinical labs and pathology groups includes a wide range of devices and instruments, some of which are familiar to the general public and some of which are highly specialized to clinical lab work.
Laboratory equipment is generally used to either perform an experiment or to take measurements and gather data. Larger or more sophisticated equipment is generally called a scientific instrument.
Such equipment includes test tubes, Folin-Wu tubes for blood glucose determination, petri dishes, beakers, flasks, Pasteur pipettes, glass slides, syringes and needles, autoclave, disposable gloves, tourniquets, microscopes, Bunsen burners, ultracentrifuge, electrophoresis apparatus, chromatography system, hematology analyzer, chemistry analyzer, semiauto analyzer, reflotron, setup for radioimmunoassay, setup for enzyme linked immunosorbant assay, (ELISA, colorimeter, burette, induction coils, cathode ray oscilloscope, recording kymograph and surface plasmon resonance equipment and various reagents.)
Other laboratory equipment might include a skin analyzer, oxygen analyzer, flouresence microscope, spectrum analyzer, and a digital pathology scanner, among many others.
At the same time, technology is advancing to the point where the capabilities of an entire laboratory can now be contained in relatively small devices. One relatively new device the size of a cola can is paired with a smartphone and can diagnose diseases like a clinical laboratory.
Another such device, marketed largely to developing countries that lack a well-developed network of clinical laboratories, is a credit-card-size anthrax detector that also works like a portable medical laboratory in the field.
In addition, research organizations, including one in the United States, one in New Zealand, and two in the U.K., have unveiled several devices that will analyze DNA in the field. Again, this line of research is of particular interest in developing countries where resources such as electricity for refrigeration are scarce. Some of the DNA testing devices will produce results in minutes to hours, eliminating the need to return to a clinical laboratory to analyze samples.
Ranging in size from little more than a pack of gum to about the size of a large brick, these devices for DNA analysis have the potential to serve as mobile medical laboratories for pathologists in the field.
CEO SUMMARY: Researchers at the University of Colorado in Aurora used mass spectrometry technology to create a paradigm-shifting toxicology test. It uses a urine specimen and can identify 112 compounds and more than 500 illicit and brand-name drugs in a single assay. For pain management testing, not only does this bend the cost curve downward,
CEO SUMMARY: Standardization of bar code labels is a concept whose time has come. After implementing CLSI standard AUTO12-A, first-mover clinical labs report fewer specimen identification errors, a reduction of costs associated with specimen handling errors, and a boost in lab productivity. Moreover, accrediting bodies such as The Joint Commission and the College of American
CEO SUMMARY: Mass spectrometry is a diagnostic technology that is transforming clinical labs and improving care at a rapid pace. The current generation of instruments is capable of supporting a faster time-to-answer and provides improved accuracy and specificity over many existing methods. For certain clinical assays, mass spec also can cost less per test than
CEO SUMMARY: In the Northeast, the microbiology department of a four-hospital health system adopted new technology for testing patients suspected of sepsis. Not only did this microbiology lab shorten the time-to-detection, it increased the diagnosis rate for sepsis from 9% to 15%—an improvement in detection of 67%! This effort led to shorter patient stays, improved
CEO SUMMARY: Because of its unique design and reliability, a new product for transporting laboratory specimens and units of blood without the use of ice and dry ice is gaining favor with innovative laboratories across the country. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States uses this ice-free specimen transport solution to move units of blood from
CEO SUMMARY: It is a reminder that today’s sophisticated laboratory test systems still have the potential to malfunction in unexpected ways. This spring, following installation and validation of a new chemistry instrument, one Canadian hospital laboratory quickly recognized that a series of random errors were a sign that the instrument had issues—but not before specimens
IF THERE IS ANY SINGLE “NEXT BIG THING” that will truly revolutionize healthcare, it is likely to be personalized medicine. This approach promises to deliver improved outcomes to individual patients, while helping to control—or even reduce—the cost of care.
Central to personalized medicine will be the need for the physician to have information about the patient’s
CEO SUMMARY: To improve the quality of lab services it provides to more than 300 skilled nursing facilities (SNF) while reducing costs, MuirLab of Concord, California, has created a “mobile specimen processing” solution. It operates a fleet of courier cars with centrifuges and refrigerated storage. Now specimens transported by these cars arrive at the core
CEO SUMMARY: Point-of-care testing (POCT) continues to gain acceptance in hospitals across the nation. One factor in this trend is improved technology for both the POC assays and the POC systems, each of which contributes to a more accurate and reproducible POC test result. But an equally important factor is tight management of a hospital’s