Automation Gives Patients Faster, More Reliable Test Results

By Pat Carragher - July 09, 2021

Nobody likes waiting in the doctor’s office, especially when it comes to determining cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now, thanks to Moffitt Cancer Center’s new chemistry automation line, long wait times are a thing of the past, furthering the cancer center’s commitment to improving patient experience.

Before automation, lab technicians would do everything manually, from spinning the blood in a centrifuge to separate fluids within the sample to, loading it onto the analyzer and storing it when the process was complete. These manual processes caused longer turnaround times. Now, 90% of patients will receive their PreChemo lab results within 35 minutes, with 99% of patients receiving results within an hour.

“Bringing in automation means that we can provide more consistent and faster turnaround times,” said Maya Cohen, chemistry supervisor at Moffitt. “We get those results to the providers as quickly as we can, and patients can start their treatment as soon as possible.

After a patient’s blood is drawn, the sample is taken to Moffitt’s Clinical Pathology Laboratory where it is then placed in the input/output module on the automation line. It’s then scanned, prioritized and sent down the line where the tubes are spin in the centrifuge, uncapped, routed to the appropriate testing instrument, and then resealed before being moved to a storage module where it will stay for the next seven days.

If a doctor needs to run an additional test on a patient who has already had blood drawn in the last seven days, the automation line can pull that patient’s sample out of the storage unit and run additional tests, saving that patient from having to get another blood sample taken.

“We can help our patients with a combination of high quality, safety and speed for an amazing patient experience,” said Dr. Patrick Hwu, president and CEO of Moffitt. “Patients are waiting less, getting less blood drawn and receiving accurate results so we know best how to treat them.”

portrait of blockquote author

"We can help our patients with a combination of high quality, safety and speed for an amazing patient experience."

- Dr. Patrick Hwu, Moffitt President and CEO

The technology is manufactured by Abbott Diagnostics, who has partnered with Moffitt to standardize this technology across all the cancer center’s campuses. Patients who are tested at Moffitt’s McKinley or International Plaza campuses can expect the same consistency with their lab results as patients who are treated at Moffitt’s Magnolia campus. Abbott’s analyzers will also be part of Moffitt’s new McKinley East hospital set to open in July 2023.

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