A Case Study Demonstrating the Effect of Software Connectivity and Parallel Processing on Turn around Time
SA DeVore, K Ellison, J Schmid, RJ Lalor, JP Wright. Dako North America, Carpinteria, CA
Background: In clinical pathology laboratories there is a common misconception that a single instrument that can process the bulk of routine immunohistochemical (IHC) work is far superior in speed to a system which separates out each process to be run individually. However, in today's laboratories with the ever increasing workload and demand on turn-around-time, the ability to parallel process by enabling independence of each process is an option to optimize the workflow. By pairing these parallel processing systems with connectivity software, steps can be eliminated.
Design: Five different clinical laboratory scenarios (Laboratory 1 5) were defined. For each scenario a routine workload of one hundred twenty cut and baked IHC slides per day was used. Two automated slide stainers and one histotech was defined. Each of the five laboratories were set up with varying workflow solutions ranging from a single system with limited laboratory connectivity to fully integrated batch processing instruments with parallel processing and software connectivity. The five scenarios were defined as: 1: 2x 30 Slide Capacity (SC) Stainers, Single Piece Flow, no LIS/LAN Connectivity 2: 2x 48 SC Stainers, manual Deparaffinization and Antigen Retrieval, no LIS/LAN connectivity 3: 2x 48 SC Stainers, 2x PreTreatment Modules, no LIS/LAN connectivity 4: 2x 48 SC Stainers, 2x PreTreatment Modules, full LAN/LIS connectivity 5: 2x 48 SC Stainers, 2x PreTreatment Modules, full LAN/LIS connectivity Scenarios 1-4 included thirty slides per batch. Scenario 5 included forty-eight slides per batch. Time data was collected externally and in-house from the beginning of a work day until the last slide was cover slipped and ready for review (daily total processing time). Each individual process was timed and characterized into two groups: manual or automated, and total time spent was recorded.
Results: Calculating the Turn-Around-Time (TAT) for all scenarios showed that TAT for Scenario 1 produced the maximum time (Time: 10 hrs, 45 min). In Scenario 5 the TAT was reduced by 44% (Time: 6 hrs). Scenario 1 had a 30% higher Hands-on-Time compared with Scenario 5. Varying configurations of laboratory connectivity and integrated workflow solutions showed different levels for TAT between these two extremes.
Conclusions: A workflow which allows for a continuous flow and treatment of slides through parallel processing can be up to 44% faster than a single piece flow system. Adding software connectivity to the process further enhances efficiency in the laboratory.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:00 PM
Poster Session VI # 219, Wednesday Afternoon