Advanced automation solution futureproofs expanding pathology workload

Addenbrooke’s installs Aptio Automation solution from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics

Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), has recently installed the Aptio Automation solution from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

It is providing a fully-automated process for analysing all core chemistry and immunoassay work, with the intention of completing the full blood sciences track with the addition of coagulation and haematology in the future. Aptio has already helped to improve throughput, boost capacity and free up staff time at the hospital, therefore allowing for an increased workload.

The laboratory utilising Aptio Automation provides a 24/7 biochemistry service for CUH, surrounding GPs and tertiary referrals. The laboratory’s workload is due to increase dramatically as it becomes one of the hubs for the Pathology Partnership, a joint venture between CUH and five other NHS trusts in the East of England. A central part of the laboratory, the automation solution was unveiled during a launch event by Graham Cockrill, a recently-retired senior biomedical scientist with 28 years service at Addenbrooke’s.

“After a long decision-making process, we decided to implement Siemens’ Aptio automation solution, not only because it offered value for money, but because we felt Siemens best understood what we were trying to achieve in a long-term pathology partnership,” said Ian Halsall, automated laboratory section head at the Pathology Partnership at CUH.

“The Aptio solution, though the most visual, is just part of Siemens’ overall offering. It has allowed us to consolidate more work through a single automated workflow, future-proof against an increasing workload and will provide the addition of assaying serology and haematology on the same track in the future.”

The Aptio track has allowed the laboratory to take away manual, labour-intensive tasks from staff such as centrifugation, decapping, recapping, aliquoting, sorting and archiving samples. This, along with other features, has resulted in increased efficiency and improved predictable turnaround times for some tests that have traditionally been reported in days, to now being turned around in under two hours. In the future, the laboratory hopes it will be able to demonstrate its contribution to efficiencies in the wider hospital such as reduced stays and repeat clinic visits.

Jacqui Vaughan, partnership manager at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, said: “Siemens has developed an excellent working relationship with Addenbrooke’s. By implementing Aptio Automation, the laboratory has been able to free up more staff to concentrate on tasks requiring their specific skill sets, encouraging an ethos of continued improvement and personal development. We are looking forward to continuing to work with the team into the future.”