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Sheba Opens “Mega Lab” – An Innovative Automated Lab to Improve Patient Care

automated mega lab at Sheba
Sheba recently inaugurated the Mega Lab, an automated laboratory that upgrades patient care. Lab test results are generated more rapidly and human error is minimized.

The Mega Lab at Sheba breaks new ground with its automated system that runs 24 hours a day. Developed at Sheba Medical Center’s ARC Innovation Center, the novel automated system performs 7-8 tasks simultaneously, sorts tests based on urgency, and identifies the type of test tube and quantity of fluid inside it. Both routine and urgent tests are processed efficiently at the same time, under global regulatory standards of the medical lab-specific ISO 15189.

Sheba is the first medical facility in the world to launch such an advanced, innovative system using the DxA 5000 technology, supplied by Beckman Coulter (headquartered in Brea, CA, in cooperation with Rhenium Medical).

“The Mega Lab is an exceptional achievement that expresses the vision and innovative spirit at Sheba. The foundation of the ARC is to change the face of medicine in the future, and the Mega Lab marks another notch along this course. By dreaming and breaking boundaries, we are creating a new reality,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, MD, MSc (MHCM), Deputy Director General, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Sheba Medical Center.

Dr. Ram Doolman, PhD, NED, MPHA, Director, Laboratories Division & Automated Mega-Laboratory, explains, “At the Mega Lab, we run biochemistry, hematology, hemodynamic acid base status, urinalysis, coagulation, inflammatory markers and some pharmacological tests for patients with positive diagnosis of COVID-19 as part of their hospitalization and rehabilitation at Sheba’s dedicated coronavirus units. With the new total laboratory automation (TLA) we are able to react within thirty to sixty minutes rather than three to five hours for these patients.”

Soon, the technological advantages of this automated system will also include microbiology diagnostics.

Throughout the past two years, Dr. Doolman and his team have been working to enhance the automation and analytic mechanisms of the Mega Lab, training extensively with the progressive DxA 5000 technology. The lab staff at Sheba underwent intensive instruction and practice in order to operate in the complex and dynamic setup.

Doolman adds, “The layout of a laboratory also has a direct effect on productivity and workflow because there must be enough space so that work remains unhindered and employee safety is upheld.”

Typically, errors that occur in the pre-analytical phase of lab testing are believed to contribute up to 70 percent of erroneous test results. This phase of testing includes order entry, centrifugation, barcode verification, sample check and more steps. Approximately 25 percent of these mistakes can adversely affect patient care. In particular, the Mega Lab’s automation has significantly improved pre-analytical activities, directly affecting the quality and reliability of lab testing.

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, Sheba’s Mega Lab has produced more than 500,000 lab results of patients who were positively verified for SARS-CoV-2. This testing was done with the highest levels of safety for medical personnel. The biohazardous safety features of the Mega Lab’s DxA 5000 enables the laboratory staff to maintain their daily protection.

“The Mega Lab is in a class of its own, as the most advanced in the world,” said Doolman.

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