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3 Key Factor that impact on your Tissue processing Workflow


3 Key Factor that impact on your Tissue processing Workflow

Background

In today’s dynamic healthcare landscape, anatomic pathology laboratories face several critical needs and challenges:
  • manage a growing volume of specimens due to the rising demand for tests and analyses
  • efficiently perform analyses within tight turnaround times, while also optimizing cost management
  • provide complete documentation that exhaustively tracks every aspect of the process
  • guarantee safety standards to protect operators during hazardous operations
  • ensure high-quality outcomes to achieve accurate and reliable diagnoses
Regarding this matter, the study conducted by G. Halwachs-Baumann, “Concepts for lean laboratory organization” (Journal of Medical Biochemistry), underlined the primary elements influencing change in the clinical laboratory. Foremost among these elements is the crucial need to reengineer laboratory workflow, with the goals of reducing costs, enhancing efficiency, and ensuring customer satisfaction in terms of quality and safety. To accomplish these pivotal objectives, three key factors are identified as actionable strategies to positively influence the tissue processing workflow:
  • Samples processing management
  • Reagent management
  • Traceability

Sample Processing Management

In our approach to sample processing management, we aim at analysing and defining the most effective methods for handling all stages of sample processing. Our focus extends to two areas: lean workflow and process automation.
The lean workflow method involves scheduling short runs throughout the day for thin samples and biopsies, while reserving longer processing times for thick and fatty tissues overnight. This strategy notably enhances workload distribution by transforming idle daytime hours into productive ones. Moreover, it enables the preparation of samples for embedding and cutting within the same day, thus reducing the workload for the following morning. Milestone tissue processors facilitate this approach by employing rapid processes, tailored protocols for small samples and using dual cavities to simultaneously run two processes.
Also process automation is a crucial aspect, as it supports a lean organization, enhancing efficiency, reducing manual processing errors, and reallocating operator time to other tasks. Synergy Milestone autoembedding system, allows to skip manual operation and perform the embedding step directly during tissue processing. This reduces both time and costs while enhancing sample safety by minimizing the risk of damage or loss.

Reagents Management

Reagents management significantly impacts the daily operations of any lab. To optimize it, it is possible to act on several fronts. The first involves the reduction of idle time by reallocating it to other activities. In this context, MAGNUS Tissue Processor optimizes time management with its dual-run functionality. It also includes a reservoir to keep wax melted, ensuring prompt availability, and the use of commercial tanks, that simplifies and speeds up reagent exchanges.
Another crucial aspect is the reagent exchange. Milestone processors enable efficient reagent consumption by prompting changes only when essential, facilitated by an alcohol sensor that directly measures reagent purity. Moreover, protocols incorporating ethanol and isopropanol enhance paraffin cleaning efficacy, reducing the need for frequent wax replacements.
Milestone tissue processors
As for operator safety, it is imperative for operators to utilize non-hazardous reagents, such as isopropanol instead of xylene, and to minimize direct exposure to them. Milestone processors ensure ventilation both in the workspace and drawer, as well as the utilization of commercial tanks to eliminate the need for risky manual refilling.
The quality of the sample itself is closely tied to the quality of the reagents used in processing. Therefore, it’s important to prevent direct contamination between water-based and alcohol-based reagents. This is achieved through structural elements that separate the two circuits or, as previously mentioned, sensors that monitor their purity. Advanced processors, such as Milestone units, employ safety modes to protect samples during malfunctions or power failures.

Traceability

Traceability is a growing concern in terms of security, as it allows for documenting the entire sample journey. Recently, innovative tools have been introduced to automate the traditional manual scanning of cassettes, reducing the risk of errors, enhancing documentation and making the process faster and more accurate. In this context, Milestone recently introduced T-Tracker, automated basket scanner. Utilizing the patented dual sensor technology, it ensures reliable tracking by counting cassettes with a laser sensor and reading codes with a camera, combining these inputs through an algorithm to provide highly accurate results. Moreover, traceability holds substantial importance within the laboratory workflow itself. Milestone’s MileWATCH software enables continuous monitoring of workflow distribution and unit status, facilitating integration with the LIS and providing the ability to receive notifications in the event of unexpected issues.
Milestone recently introduced T-Tracker, automated basket scanner

Conclusions

Implementing lean workflow and automation, simplifying and securing reagent management and ensuring full traceability are key strategies for achieving a redesigned laboratory workflow tailored to reduce costs, increase efficiency and maintain the highest levels of quality and safety.

Want to know more?

Watch our educational Webinar “3 key Factors that impact on your Tissue Processing Worklow”
Our Application Specialist highlights the primary challenges of tissue processing, with a special focus on samples management, reagents exchange and traceability. Through live streaming from our laboratory, you will learn best practices and strategies tailored to optimize your tissue processing workflow, and answer the main needs of today’s laboratories.

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