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New automated lab diagnoses infections faster

Diagnosing infectious diseases is about to get a lot quicker for doctors and their patients across the London, Ont. region.

In a health care partnership, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Centre unveiled the world’s first installation of a state-of-the-art automated laboratory.

“There will be a shorter time period to get the results, and then antibiotic treatment can be described earlier than normal,” explained John French, clinical diagnostics executive for LHSC.

The new system also boasts enhanced safety, said Karen Perkin, vice president of patient care at St. Joseph’s.

“Very huge, for the system, for the system flow. Also the other elements of safety and the other checkpoints that the system offers in terms of accuracy,” she explained.

An automated microbiology lab at LHSC is seen in London, Ont. on Nov. 2, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London) Made by medical technology company BD, the BD Kiestra Total Laboratory Automation System is designed to assist in the detection of infectious diseases.

The lab delivers automated workflows from inoculation and incubation to culture reading and results reporting.

“Microbiology used to take about three days, highly labour intensive,” said BD Executive Vice President, Dave Hickey. “Now with automation and solutions like the BD Kiestra you can do it in about a day to a day-and-a-half. What that means for the lab staff is that they can now spend their time on doing more value-add activities.”

The lab currently processes about 360,000 tests per year. The new system increases capacity and prepares for the future, according to Jeff Fuller, a clinical microbiologist at LHSC.

“Our population is increasing. Population is getting older. Diseases are becoming more complex. And so as part of our role in preparedness this implementation and installation of our laboratory will address any concerns about capacity for the net decade plus without any problems,” he explained.

The new automated microbiology lab comes with a price tag of $3.3 million. Top Stories

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