With the ever increasing number of testing choices available to physicians, patients, reference and hospital laboratories, the competition of lab tests is quite intense. Labs have to consider their chemistry needs and equip themselves with high quality medical lab equipment that will help them offer their own unique services in the competitive local market. Whether it’s an analyzer, centrifuge or any other type of device, some important points have to be kept in mind when making the purchase decision:
- Purchase an instrument that provides consistently accurate and timely test results. This is crucial when it comes to cost-effectiveness. A low quality instrument with cheap reagents would break down often, requiring more repeat tests. On the other hand, a high quality durable analyzer would offer accurate and reliable sample analysis.
- Clinical lab analyzers that offer random access testing are a feasible choice. These instruments can perform a variety of tests simultaneously as well as various combinations of tests. Reliable models offer reduced turnaround time for the results of specific test profiles.
- Consider space. Small and medium laboratories have space constraints and should look for instruments that save floor space. Leading laboratory equipment stores offer both table top and under-counter lab instruments that are compact, but strong and efficient.
- Examine the instrument’s test profile to see if it can handle your throughput – expected test volume and type of tests at a specific point of time.
- Another important consideration is with regard to processing of your workload. When calculating the required throughput, emergency or stat test counts have to be looked into separately from non-emergency tests.
- Other things to look for – user-friendly, simple operation, walkaway capability, reports in preferred format, onboard reagent capability, ability to run different samples, bar coding, closed tube sampling and alarm to alert system failure.
Before purchasing new equipment or upgrade existing devices, labs should thoroughly understand the CLIA regulations relevant to their facility and to the devices being purchased. There are different levels of complexity in CLIA and purchasing or upgrading a device may change the complexity category of the procedures. In such cases, changes in certification and additional staff training will be necessary. Changes have to be also made in quality control, proficiency testing, and other lab procedures.