First global install of track-based haematology platform achieves quality accreditation

HELO fully-automated high-throughput system at Torbay Hospital reduces time taken for routine haematology work

The HORIBA HELO platform has been installed at Torbay Hospital

HORIBA Medical UK has announced the first global installation of its new HELO high-throughput, fully-automated haematology platform in Torbay Hospital.

The installation has helped the hospital’s laboratory to achieve UKAS ISO 15189 accreditation.

Additionally, the ease of use, fast processing and operational efficiency delivered by the new track-based haematology system has enabled routine haematology work to be smoothed and cut by an hour at the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (TSDFT).

The install follows a response to tender in 2017 by HORIBA Medical for a new fully-automated haematology platform to replace the hospital’s 12-year-old Pentra DX 120 haematology analysers.

Alongside the requirement for assistance in verification of the new system via HORIBA’s Quality Accreditation Programme (QAP), other ‘must haves’ within the tender were robust white cell linearity, optical platelet counts, and nucleated red blood cell counts.

David Strutt, haematology technical manager at Torbay Hospital, said: “As the world’s-first installation of HELO, we were prepared for the possibility of some teething issues. However, these were minimal and were sorted out effectively and rapidly.”

The new HELO met Torbay’s requirements for a tracked haematology platform with flexible layouts to fit within a reconfigured blood sciences lab alongside chemistry analysers to facilitate efficient working.

Key to enabling improved workflows is HELO’s novel approach to track as samples can be loaded at any analyser and the system then disperses them, depending on tests required and individual analyser capacities.

Strutt said: “HELO has a different type of track to what I’ve been used to where samples are loaded at the front and taken off at the end.

“We can simply load sample racks to any Yumizen analyser linked by the track, HELO then smooths and eats through our workload, with the track reducing turnaround times compared with our previous system.

“STAT samples are also detected and prioritised wherever you load them directly onto the track, making it very easy to use and giving us more options.”

Also enabling efficient working, HELO displays visual status aides via green, amber and red lights, both as large overall status lights visible from anywhere within the lab, as well as on individual analysers.

“Having immediate warning that the system needs attention allows us to take instant action, whether it’s a reagent change or a Westgard QC alert that has automatically stopped an analyser,” said Strutt.

“Another advantage is the fact that HELO’s open/manual mode uses the same needle as the automated mode, meaning that only one calibration is needed.”

The HELO solution was designed in consultation with end users to cover all needs of high-throughput automated haematology. It offers a highly-flexible haematology track system that is fully scalable with many possible configurations, supporting any future changes within a laboratory.

It incorporates high-throughput Yumizen haematology analysers processing up to 120 samples an hour.

A comprehensive automated slide digital morphology system is a planned addition for the future.

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