Dr. Pamela Kibsey and a lab technician examining a digital photo taken of a specimen by Royal Jubilee Hospital's new fully automated microbiology laboratory. The new system will allow more tests of specimens to be done faster

Royal Jubilee lab takes big step forward with new microbiology technology

Royal Jubilee is the first hospital in North America to get a fully automated microbiology lab.

Royal Jubilee Hospital will be able to process patient samples faster and with more accuracy, thanks to a new state-of-the-art fully automated microbiology lab. Royal Jubilee is the first hospital in North America to have such a system.

“It will make a huge difference for our patients, because we’ll have critical information to guide their therapy faster,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO of Island Health.

The new lab system cost $4.3 million to install, and was done in partnership with the CRD. It officially goes live on Dec. 8.

Previously, staff had to manually place specimens on petri dishes, spread them in a specific pattern then take them to the incubator. After 16 to 24 hours, technologists would then examine bacteria growth on the plates one by one.

With the new system, specimens are placed on plates automatically, then spread by specially designed magnetic beads. The plates are sent along a conveyer belt into the incubator, which takes digital images of the samples. The images can be viewed at any lab technologist’s computer.

Using this new process, 200 samples can be processed in an hour, as opposed to 40 to 60 per hour when done manually.

“It’s a continuous process that the robot does so the technologists don’t have to manually move plates around anymore,” said Dr. Pamela Kibsey, Island Health’s medical director of infection control and medical lead of the microbiology lab at Royal Jubilee.

The accuracy of the new robotic system is now 100 per cent for evert single specimen, said Carr.

“It raises our confidence and it raises our certainty in terms of diagnostics substantially.”

despite the increased speed and efficiency, Carr and Kibsey assured no jobs would be lost as a result.

“One of the problems in North America is that we are facing looking staffing shortages,” said Kibsey. “We have to have a way of increasing our capacity, being faster, with the same amount of technologists. We have to do more with the same people.”

While this is the first automated microbiology lab of its kind at a hospital in North America, there are two private labs that have similar systems. One is at DynaLIFE lab in Edmonton and the other is at CML HealthCare lab in Mississauga.

 

Just Posted

Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

University of Victoria astronomer explains the “glowing object”

Evicted UVic student questions Saanich’s housing bylaw

Emma Edmonds had been living with six roommates, while the bylaw states you cannot exceed four

Sooke trade show targets local business

Sookrama planned for April

Plecas report: Thousands spent on trips, booze, magazines and a wood splitter

Two suspended B.C. legislature officers have been accused of ‘flagrant overspending’

Ousted legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Canadian navy plans to extend life of submarines

The fleet has turned a corner after a troubled start

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Most Read