Littleton Regional Healthcare Cuts Ribbon on Revolutionary Laboratory Automation System

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On Thursday, April 18, 2024, Littleton Regional Healthcare hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the implementation of its brand new laboratory automation system, featuring state-of-the-art chemistry and hematology analytical instruments. The full system went live early this year and is complete with Beckman Coulter’s DxA 5000 Fit Workflow Automation System and DxI 9000 Immunoassay Analyzer.

At the forefront of Laboratory Medicine, LRH is one of the first Critical Access Hospitals in the nation with these cutting-edge healthcare solutions in place. To celebrate LRH’s early adoption of this technology, representatives from Beckman Coulter were on-site at LRH to memorialize the partnership between the two entities and recognize all those involved in bringing the vision to life and completing the project.

The journey began in early 2022, as LRH began exploring laboratory solutions that would meet its needs and by April of 2023, LRH had made the decision to pursue the technology produced by Beckman Coulter. With the assistance of architects, engineers, contractors, and others, the work of redesigning and reconfiguring the physical space quickly began to accommodate the footprint of the new system.

Individual components started arriving at the close of the year and were incrementally incorporated into the workflow. With any laboratory technology, extensive testing and validation is required before any system can take effect and be solely relied on for patient care. For a time, LRH was operating its old instruments alongside the new system to confirm accuracy and precision.

During Thursday’s ceremony, Beckman Coulter’s Doug Sernyk, Product Sales Executive, opened by thanking LRH for its partnership and recognizing the many individuals involved in bringing this project to completion. LRH’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Nutter, then acknowledged LRH’s Board of Trustees who were ultimately the body who made the decision to advance this project and noted how this is just one example that demonstrates LRH’s dedication to investing in modern healthcare solutions to support and provide the contemporary care the region depends on. Nutter noted how it wasn’t a difficult conclusion for anyone to make as it was apparent how the Beckman Coulter system aligned with LRH’s current and, more importantly, future needs. Next, Beckman Coulter’s Regional Sales Manager, Cynthia Adrean, reflected on the journey LRH and Beckman Coulter shared together over the last several years. Tonya Martin Fenech, Beckman Coulter’s North American Marketing Manager for Chemistry/Immunoassay, talked about the specific technology that has been introduced in LRH’s laboratory. She highlighted some of the innovative features, like the real-time error detection, operational efficiency, and decreased need for maintenance and calibration.

In closing, Koren Superchi, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of LRH, recognized LRH’s Laboratory Manager, Elizabeth Andross, BS, MT (AAB), who spearheaded the entire project, beginning with the search for a long-term solution for LRH’s laboratory, thoroughly evaluating the potential systems, and working diligently to pull together a comprehensive proposal that outlined the value of Beckman Coulter’s technology and how it aligned with LRH’s needs. Superchi thanked Ryan St. Cyr, LRH’s Senior Director of Support Services, and his facilities team for their involvement throughout the entire process, always finding a solution to any challenge that presented along the way. Superchi also recognized the greater laboratory team at LRH for their willingness to learn a new system, patience through the renovations and implementation phases, and valuable feedback to administration throughout the process which resulted in a seamless integration. Also in attendance were representatives from Engelberth Construction and SMRT Architects &Engineers, both of which were contracted to assist in the project.

LRH’s new automation system has obvious benefits to patient care, including faster turnaround times, improved accuracy and consistency, and increased capacity. The instruments are designed for small to mid-sized laboratories and are equipped with intelligence routing which ensures samples requiring urgent testing are automatically expedited through the system. They also identify and eliminate pre- and post-analytical errors while reducing the manual process for technologists by 22 steps. Not to mention, the automation this system provides will help address current staffing challenges, benefit LRH’s recruitment efforts in this field, and have implications as fewer young people pursue a career in laboratory medicine leading to a smaller workforce pool. Undoubtedly, LRH’s investment will have a lasting impact on it as an organization, the patients it serves, and the greater region.

[photo caption: Leaders of Littleton Regional Healthcare are joined by representatives of Beckman Coulter during a recent ribbon cutting ceremony in the laboratory at LRH]

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