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Kingston Hospital Delivers Point of Care Testing Excellence

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Kingston Hospital NHS Trust ensures rapid and reliable results for blood gases and other critical care parameters using Roche cobas b 221 blood gas analysers.  Easy to use and requiring minimal maintenance, these robust analysers are ideal for use by non-laboratory staff at the point of care, and they have the added advantage that they can be monitored remotely by using Roche POC IT solutions.

“Having the analysers at the point of care saves valuable time,“ explains Point of Care Testing (POCT) Manager, Christine Astbury.  “Blood gas samples deteriorate rapidly and need to be analysed as quickly as possible.  The cobas b 221 analysers allow us to do this reliably and with ease, providing a good quality result where and when it is needed.“

Kingston Hospital has seven cobas b 221 blood gas analysers located throughout the hospital (in the intensive therapy unit, accident and emergency, acute assessment unit, neonatal unit, maternity department, a medical respiratory ward and the laboratory).  Connectivity with cobas® IT 1000 (together with cobas bge Link and cobas academy e-learning) provides Kingston with the complete POC IT solution allowing all analysers and operators to be managed efficiently from a single point of control.

“The cobas b 221 analysers are very easy to maintain,“ Christine comments.  “The only day to day maintenance required  is to check reagent and paper levels.  Reagent levels can be monitored from the laboratory and trained users can load new reagent cartridges and paper easily.  Additional scheduled maintenance is minimal, very easy to perform and is carried out by one part-time MLA at Kingston; this was an important factor in our procurement process, since staff resources for POCT are very limited.“

“cobas® bge Link can be used to check that all quality control (QC) tests have been performed satisfactorily, from a single screen in the laboratory“ adds Christine.  “Previously, we would have had to visit each system individually, so this is a lot easier and saves time.  It is also possible to troubleshoot remotely (using the screen sharing mode in cobas bge Link), as well as request calibrations, run QC samples, prime the system with reagents, and perform other functions.  This is particularly helpful out-of -hours, when it is not possible for BMS staff to visit an analyser on the ward.“

To enhance patient safety, cobas IT 1000 enables access to the analysers to be controlled, so that only trained and authorised operators can perform a test.  “ The password protection capabilities of cobas IT 1000 are really important,” Christine concludes.  “This allows me to see any abnormal patterns of use and enables me to block access, if required, to ensure safe and appropriate use of the equipment.“

With almost 1200 blood glucose operators and around 300 blood gas operators to manage, cobas® IT 1000 enables Christine to ensure that staff are all competent and authorised to use the equipment.   Cobas® academy, the e-learning tool for cobas IT 1000,  is used to supplement and enhance their training.

“ Following face-to-face training, where operators demonstrate their ability to perform a test, they must then complete cobas academy training  and pass the competency test within a defined time period.  cobas academy adds to their knowledge and enables them to demonstrate competency; it also alerts me when users are due for re-certification.  I see this as the way forward in facilitating mandatory training.”

“One of the reasons we chose cobas® IT 1000 is because of the ability to connect Roche and non-Roche POCT equipment.   In the near future we hope to link in further POCT equipment to cobas IT 1000 at Kingston,” Christine continues.  “ When we purchase any future POCT equipment one of the requirements will be that, where possible,  they must be connected to cobas IT 1000. This means that one IT Solution can effectively manage POC in our hospital and provide the cost benefits. ”