Around 80% of all diagnoses are based on blood analyses. Doctors waiting for results is often crucial; patients are waiting to hear what treatment is to come, consequently suffering unbearable waiting time and occupying expensive bedtime.
Because of this, a hot issue in clinical chemistry is the Turnaround time (TAT) in the laboratory. Often the turn-around time is measured only in the clinical analyses in the lab, but today the TAT includes all the phases from the request of the samples until the doctor receives the test result. The process is initiated when a request is made. A nurse or phlebotomist identify the patient and draw the blood sample. Next stage is to transport the sample to the laboratory and register the sample when it arrives in the laboratory. Thereafter, the sample is being analyzed and finally, the result is sent back to the doctor.
The average turnaround time for blood samples in the laboratory is 20 - 30 minutes. But very often the total processing time takes 1 - 2 hours. Some hospitals try to reduce their turn-around time by investing money in optimizing their analytical equipment to gain some minutes or seconds. But often the problems are due to the logistical transport between the ward/blood collection room and the laboratory. There is a huge difference in the transportation time when blood samples must be carried by a porter or the technical bioanalyst.
Traditionally most hospitals are working with the concept of TAT (Turnaround time) when measuring their efficiency in processing their blood samples. And it's often this time they try to reduce.
Unfortunately, when using TAT as a measurement method for blood sample processing efficiency, many focuses only on the time from when the sample arrives in the laboratory and until the result is available. But it has reached a point where the improvements in analytical time are with very marginal improvements.
ToTAT, on the other hand, is a measuring standard that encompasses the entire process cycle of the blood samples, commencing when the blood sample is either ordered or drawn from the patient. The time scale revealed when implementing ToTAT as the standard of measuring method offers a completely different perspective on process efficiency and often reveals more areas that can be improved.
Furthermore, the TAT gives no indication of "patient-waiting-time" or ToTAT, as there are none or little focus on the time it takes to get the sample from the patient to the laboratory. In short, this means that a laboratory that provides a TAT under an hour (which when isolated - looks good) might have a ToTAT of average 120 minutes or more, which is a long process/waiting time that no longer is necessary.
Many hospitals around the world operate with a target time of less than one hour. For a large portion of hospitals though, this is implemented for STAT-samples only. But to get an accurate picture of the actual Total Turnaround Time we need to focus on the time from when the blood sample is being drawn and until the result is delivered to the patient.
Implementing ToTAT as the standard measurement will reveal the key area to attend to is more often than not, the routines of bringing the blood samples from the patient to the laboratory. Slow transportation time can prolonge the waiting time for the important results and it can have a negative influence on the quality of the samples. When overlooking the processes of transporting the samples to the laboratory and focusing purely on the turnaround time in the laboratory, the hospitals lose important means to reduce the Total Turnaround Time.
Hospitals with focus on reducing the Total Turnaround Time will witness an extreme reduction in their turnaround time for test results. With modern new technology in the laboratories, the optimization in laboratory turnaround time is often down to seconds or a few minutes. But, when focusing on reducing the time from when the sample is drawn until the result is available, the Total Turnaround Time can be reduced dramatically.
Traditional pneumatic transport systems are not dedicated to the transportation of blood samples only. Consequently, the results can be hemolysis or delays due to mechanical challenges.
To solve the issue of bringing blood samples from the patient to the laboratory in the fastest and safest possible way while securing excellent potential for test results, economics, patient and staff satisfaction, Sarstedt ApS has developed and offers the Tempus600 Solutions via Tempus600 and Tempus600 Vita.
It offers dedicated, individual transportation of blood samples directly from the ward to the laboratory. The samples are placed directly in the inlet of the sending station - no packing and unpacking of samples, no delays, errors or hemolysis.
Hence the Total Turnaround Time can be reduced to a maximum of 1 hour and approximately ½ hour for critical samples. This applies not only to STAT samples but to all samples. In fact, there are no longer STAT sample issues, as all samples are sent directly and individually from the ward to the laboratory, where it can be connected to Lab automation.
If the hospitals choose to connect Tempus600 directly to the TLA (Total Lab Automation) the circle of the Total Turnaround Time (ToTAT) is closed!
So, utilizing Tempus600 system, the laboratory can be "extended" to all the different wards and there will be no priority, no risk of wrong delivery, no hemolysis and no waiting time. The samples only need to be handled once and they will arrive in according to the First In - First Out principle (FIFO). Lab capacity will not be stretched as samples do not appear in bulk but in a steady flow without any manual handling ensuring sample safety and speedy process time, from the patient to the result.