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4th May 2021  Product update: rapidmicrobiology staff writer

DxA 5000 Fit - A Workflow Automation Solution for Labs Processing <5,000 Tests a Day


Beckman Coulter have introduced to the European market, the DxA 5000 Fit, a workflow-automation solution designed to fit into medium-sized labs that run fewer than 5,000 tests a day.

The clinical laboratory has gone through trial by fire in 2020, where total testing was 245% of baseline volumes, with ~55% being SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests.1 Despite vaccines, many industry players suggest SARS-CoV-2 testing volumes won’t be impacted in the near term, and the demand for COVID-19-related testing will continue through 2021 and potentially into 2022 2 . This means that testing-volume pressure on labs is going to continue.

Labs of all sizes are facing the same challenges: shortage of laboratory technologists and
technicians 3 , historic financial pressures on hospitals and health systems 4 , and physically and
mentally exhausted laboratory professionals 5 – a pre-pandemic problem that has since been
exacerbated. However, the TLA solutions that cater to labs processing high-sample volumes are
out of reach for smaller volume labs due to space requirements and infrastructure constraints.

The Right Fit for Mid-sized Labs
“When we look at automation for our labs it's a balancing act between system throughput
capacity, test menu and footprint of the system. At the Harrogate District Hospital site, we knew
that a large automated system will be too large and excessive and a standalone system doesn't
give us the streamlined workflow we want. What we needed was a compact automation system
that reduced the number of steps, requiring minimum human intervention and generated a valid
result at first pass so that our lab professionals are not moving samples around but performing
the valuable scientific tasks they are trained for," said Afruj Ruf, managing director at Integrated
Pathology Solutions LLP, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

"From its compact footprint and minimizing manual work by 80%, to intelligent routing that makes sure our acute patients get their results faster than routine ones, the DxA 5000 Fit was just the right fit for us."

In a survey, lab directors and managers were asked to identify the key challenges hospital labs
are facing. The results found that staffing (26%) and turnaround time (23%) were identified as
top priorities 6 . Automation plays a key role in helping to address many of these issues while
enabling precious resources to focus on high-value, clinical tasks – this has proven particularly
true during the COVID-19 pandemic 7 .

“For large laboratories, TLA is a reality today. However, for medium-volume labs like ours that
process fewer than 4,000 tests per day, comprehensive workflow-automation solutions haven’t
been an option,” said Susan Enciso, System Supervisor of Chemistry, Excela Health. “Beckman
Coulter’s DxA 5000 Fit solution is the right fit for us. It has a flexible design which is important in
a lab like ours where space is a precious commodity; and reduces our manual process steps by
up to 80%, helping us meet today’s unprecedented need for COVID-19 and routine tests.”

With the DxA 5000 Fit, mid-sized labs can enjoy the same benefits as larger-volume labs:

  • Comprehensive workflow automation to reduce up to 80% of manual steps through pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical automation 8, conserving precious human resources to do higher-value clinical work
  • Intelligent routing with dynamically calculated route planning for rapid and consistent TAT, with STATs always prioritized to deliver results faster
  • Flexible design that can be adapted to meet a mid-volume lab’s space and infrastructure constraints

“We chose the DxA 5000 Fit because it offers us end-to-end automation and will automate a lot
of the pre- and post-analytical routine work our skilled technologists spend their time doing,”
said Dr Hervé Vermeulen, lab director at Centre Hospitalier de Calais. “We look forward to
lower, more consistent TATs and significant efficiency gains from the industry’s most
comprehensive pre-analytical sample-quality assessment combined with automated pre-
analytical sample processing and connected chemistry and immunoassay analysers.”

“At Beckman Coulter, we believe that medium-size labs should be able to leverage the benefits
of automation to address their challenges. Just because your lab is not processing a higher
number of samples, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the benefits of intelligent laboratory
automation and settle for a marginally automated workcell-plus solution,” said Dr Peter Soltani,
senior vice president & general manager, haematology, urinalysis & workflow information
technology solutions at Beckman Coulter. “This is why we have launched DxA 5000 Fit, the first
compact workflow automation solution that’s the right fit for mid-volume labs because
automation should be for all labs.”

Learn more about Beckman Coulter’s family of automation solutions and the DxA 5000 Fit on
our website at www.beckmancoulter.com/dxa5000fit

References:

1. Bonislawski, A. 'The Clinical Lab in 2020: The Impact of COVID-19 This Year and Beyond.' 360 Dx. December 29, 2020. [Accessed: March 1, 2021]
2. Bonislawski, A. 'How Will Labs Use Expanded Molecular Testing Capacities Post-COVID-19?' 360 Dx. December 20, 2020. [Accessed: January 28, 2021]
3. Ford BA and McElavania E. 'Machine Learning Takes Laboratory Automation to the Next Level.' Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Mar 2020, 58 (4) e00012-20; DOI: 10.1128/JCM.00012-20
4. Hospitals and Health Systems Face Unprecedented Financial Pressures Due to COVID-19. May 2020. American Hospital Association. [Accessed: March 1, 2021]
5. https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/medical-laboratory-professionals-perform-covid-19-tests-face-burnout-and-exhaustion [Accessed: March 1, 2021]
6. National Health System Crisis Readiness Report 2020 Edition. Accumen. August 27, 2020.  [Accessed October 6, 2020]
7. Gramz, J. 'The benefits of lab automation to facilitate testing for SARS-CoV-2.' November 19, 2020.  [Accessed: March 1, 2021]
8. Based on Beckman Coulter analysis of typical clinical diagnostics laboratory workflow steps. Step counts may vary.


    

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Date Published: 4th May 2021

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Note: This content has been edited by a rapidmicrobiology staff writer for style and content.


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