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cobas® pro integrated solutions: Roche Diagnostics new innovation for India

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The cobas pro integrated solution is said to offer a range of innovative features that optimise the day-to-day working of laboratory professionals, helping them focus their time on the tasks that matter

It comes as no surprise that automation and digital technologies are transforming clinical laboratories and path labs today. These transformations have changed the way pathology and clinical lab function sharpening their focus on improved turn-around-time, accurate results and high efficiency in output. However, with increasing demand for path lab services within the country, labs are under constant pressure to perform, compete and at the same time control costs. Certain roadblocks such as resource inefficiencies and unexpected interruptions that delay in delivering timely results to patients; minimal space to manage growth and higher volumes of tests, time consuming and repetitive manual work that prevents laboratory personnel from focussing on the things that matter and the need to access innovations make path labs highly vulnerable to fatigue and breakdowns.

In keeping with the requirements of Indian path labs, Roche Diagnostics India has launched its latest diagnostic technology – cobas pro. It is a set of integrated solutions – which includes time-saving and efficiency-building features like automated maintenance and calibration and an on-the-fly reagent and consumables loading mechanism.

Solution for India

According to Roche Diagnostics, the cobas pro integrated solutions can seamlessly integrate into Roche and other lab automation systems making it attractive to lab management. It gives IVD labs an opportunity to experience the merits of digitalisation and automation, with the added benefit of Roche’s support in upskilling their technicians.

Speaking about this new technology, Dr Shravan Subramanyam, MD, Roche Diagnostics India, added, “cobas pro in India addresses almost all of the challenges of today’s labs — reduced turnaround time, maintaining testing efficiency in limited space settings, less fatigue and improved the productivity of lab personnel on account of automation and a single window into the industry’s largest test portfolio. I am excited that some of the sustainability matrices of cobas pro integrated solutions are most relevant to India’s needs. For instance, with cobas pro a lab uses one-third the amount of water required for a test in comparison to our earlier analysers.”

This system is Roche’s new generation of Serum Work Area solutions that endeavours to improve the speed and reliability of treatment decisions for patients and their families. They are designed to reduce the time between diagnosis and therapy management and to instil greater confidence in clinical decision making.

“In tangible terms, cobas pro reduces daily maintenance time to eight minutes only, whilst it has a proven reduction of up to 90 hours’ hands-on time for calibration every year (as compared to cobas 6000), significantly improving the productivity of lab professionals. The ready-to-use reagents requiring no preparation time is another advantage for lab technicians to allocate their instrument and services time efficiently,” Subramanyam adds.

Striking features

The cobas pro-integrated solution is said to offer a range of innovative features that optimise the day-to-day working of laboratory professionals, helping them focus their time on the tasks that matter and less time on hands-on, manual operations. The system focussed on the following aspects:

Saving time

The system is said to support lab technicians by helping them utilise their time wisely. The system delivers short and predictable turnaround times through high speed of analytical units, intelligent sample routing and short assay incubation times. According to experts, using time wisely also means that technicians have the ability to simplify the routine with minimal operator intervention.

For this reason, the cobas pro has the following features:

1. Intelligent reagent loading
2. Automated maintenance
3. Automated calibration

Also, the cobas AutoCalUp leads to up to 56 per cent less calibration events saving up to 92 hours of hands-on time annually!

Space management

If you closely look at the growth momentum of the sector, it is evident that labs today are working to grow and increase revenue, by expanding their test offering or bringing more testing in-house. However, this means they need to be ready to handle higher volumes, often within the same space, without having to invest in additional platforms that are not used to their full capacity. Cobas green packs come along with a high filling volume to free up reagent positions and the broadest SWA menu on one consolidated platform supports the opportunity to expand testing services. This also helps to consolidate high and low throughput tests, minimise reagent waste and bring low volume testing in-house.

Team empowerment

True empowerment of employees lies in the fact that they can trust the accuracy of the results they are generating throughout their workday. The cobas pro offers various safety features to ensure sample integrity such as ultrasonic washing and contact-free mixing on CC as well as disposable tips on the Immunoanalyser. Ultrasonic washing is a new innovation on cobas pro integrated solutions, named cobas SonicWash. According to Roche, this system ensures sample integrity through intelligent sample routing using high priority assays. With cobas pro, Roche is hence introducing an additional layer of safety through ultrasonic probe cleaning on CC and ISE. It reduces the number of clot events and can be used to dissolve clots. Additionally, cobas SonicWash cleans the probe thoroughly in a way that hardly any particles are leftover, assuring sample integrity. Therefore, there is no need to route samples to immunochemistry first and then to clinical chemistry but any test can go to any device in any order, i.e. a more efficient and flexible sample routing.

Going forward

The above-mentioned characteristics show a lot of promise, but how does this system facilitate cost reduction and ensure sustainability in path labs?

“We have a proven track record of sustainable development. Using the industry’s smallest sample volumes, we have built a strong focus and have invested immensely in providing medical value.

Roche knows that the future of sustainable healthcare depends on diagnostics to help facilitate cost reductions and decrease hospitalisation through improved disease management and patient care. To this end, Roche continues to evolve innovation to meet future laboratory and healthcare needs, which is exemplified by this latest solution,” replied Subramanyam.

Since this system is extremely new to the market, understanding its true potential will take some time. Going forward, Roche will need to look at how it can create value to smaller path lab businesses as well. The fact that not all path labs can invest in automation and digital technologies, the question of affordability and cost-effectiveness will tend to arise. We will only have to wait and watch how Roche addresses these concerns.

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