Lab Matters Fall 2016 - Page 26

industry matters Using Lab Automation to Stay Ahead of Public Health Threats by Amber Duffey, key account manager for public health, Roche Diagnostics F Joey Stringer (left) and Daniel Serinaldi, from Dallas County Health and Human Services, are using automated lab technology to provide shorter turn-around time for tests and stay a step ahead of public health threats like Zika rom H1N1 to Ebola to various vector-borne pathogens, the unsung heroes of Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) are staying one step ahead of public health threats like Zika through the use of innovative lab automation technologies. By transitioning from time-consuming manual processes to a more efficient, automated workflow, the lab is also better able to utilize staff time, process samples faster and provide quicker responses during these high-demand times. For the area’s 2.5 million residents, the investment by DCHHS in automation technology is not only helping to protect their personal health and well-being, it’s also providing the right tools to actively monitor, respond to and combat the spread of serious public health outbreaks in a more timely and efficient manner. “For example, bringing in the MagNA Pure 96 automated extraction system has allowed us to cut tech time in half and provide the community with an even shorter turnaround time,” says Daniel Serinaldi, bioterrorism coordinator/LPN principal coordinator at DCHHS. “When your job is to respond to public health threats and those public health threats are large, having technology that fits the bill in terms of being able to make that response is critically important.” According to Dallas County’s general lab supervisor Joey Stringer, the lab has been able to leverage its expanded testing capabilities and increased capacity during outbreaks to help fulfill its purpose of protecting the people of Dallas County. Roche Diagnostics is a Diamond Level Sustaining Member of APHL. “From serology to PCR testing, adding automated technology has enabled our lab to handle a much greater testing capacity,” he says. “It’s helped the lab grow considerably. Even with what we’re currently doing in 2016 with the Zika outbreak, it’s allowed us to go way above and beyond what we could do before.” 24 LAB MATTERS Fall 2016 DIGITAL EXTRA: Text “Lab” to 313131 to hear more about their story PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org