BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The National Clinical Chemistry Reference Laboratory will start using a new cost-efficient system to get more accurate and faster lab test results.
The health ministry on Thursday launched the total laboratory automation (TLA) system at the national clinical lab located in Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.
The TLA system will improve service delivery and efficiency as well as better patient management, said the assistant head of National Clinical Chemistry Reference Laboratory.
Zurina Hj Md Hashim said the automated process will deliver more consistent turnaround time, resulting in improved patient management, especially in critical care units.
‘More tests at less cost’
The new system will also allow the lab to expand its testing services.
“The TLA system is designed to incorporate additional analysis, [where more types of] tests can be conducted in the lab.
“This will allow us to [process] the test samples which were previously sent abroad and took around three days to a week [for results to return],” Zurina told The Scoop.
TLA can perform 86 different chemistry tests and includes an automated sample delivery track system that delivers about 600 samples per hour from start to finish of lab analytical processes.
Zurina said patients can expect fewer callbacks from doctors to retake blood tests as the system eliminates the possibility of human errors.
Staff exposure to patient samples will be reduced, further improving their safety.
The system is expected to help the government cut costs after tenders for the lab were consolidated over seven years — from quality control materials, maintenance, software, hardware to licenses.
This means that we will have more tests at less cost, said Zurina.
The National Clinical Chemistry Reference Laboratory offers a wide range of biochemical tests and analyses electrolytes, hormones and proteins in the blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid, the health ministry said in a press statement.
Zurina said the lab’s 17 technical staff also receive test samples from clinics and hospitals as they are not equipped to run certain tests such as tumour marker tests.
The laboratory received 541,402 blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid specimens and completed 3.21 million laboratory tests last year.