After I watched Siemens take the wraps off its spanking new VersaCell X3 Solution, an automated sample collection system, I wanted to see how the other half of the IT world lives and works. Specifically, the CentraLink Data Management System, which displays clinical data and manages workflow across multiple disciplines and platforms, including the VersaCell and the Aptio Automation system. So I trudged across the cool, carpeted tundra of Houston’s convention center at the AACC in search of Rita White, a Siemens exec who handles automated systems and IT.
“The VersaCell moves the samples from one instrument to another. Track based automation also supplies all the pre-analysis functions, like sorting the tubes, so it reduces the manual handling. You can imagine putting all these tubes on these instruments creates a tremendous amount of information about the patient — all these results,” said Rita. “If someone was just sitting and waiting for these results and manually looking at them and deciding what needs to be repeated or what goes to the physician, it can be very time consuming.
“Middleware, which is what CentraLink is, takes and manages all that data and compiles it in a way so its much easier for someone to manage and review those results,” she explained. “It also allows the next step, which is called auto verification, where we can set up automatic filters to let the results be released if it meets the validity standards. All this is done automatically by CentraLink.”
In other words, CentraLink provides a single, high-performance platform for managing, monitoring, and processing lab operations from multiple instruments and locations—even across multiple hospitals and laboratories. This powerful solution automates time-consuming, error-prone manual processes and establishes intelligent workflow procedures that focus on improving patient care. Integrated Quality-of-Service and data management tools enhance test result accuracy, enabling healthcare organizations to increase productivity while reducing costs.
Rita White explained that CentraLink works equally well with the new VersaCell 3X Solution, which connects three instruments, or with the Aptio System, which can connect up to 32 instruments. “So it’s consolidating the review process so that the technologists are spending their time reviewing critical abnormal results that you really want someone to take a look at, versus filtering through all these normal results that can go out without review.”
CentraLink is the data manager, while VersaCell and Aptio are the data collectors. Even if you don’t have either of those data collection systems, CentraLink can still be used with stand-alone instruments. “Maybe you’re at a point where track-based automation is not right for you or you don’t have the budget to connect two or three instruments to the VersaCell, you still can increase the efficiency of the technologists and the data review by connecting individual instruments to CentraLink.
“And the same review capabilities are there, up to 32 individual instruments,” said Rita. There have been 14 iterations of CentraLink, with version 15 due next year.
She added that CentraLink has one other feature — it also manages quality control information. When the QC is run from an instrument, you can set up ranges for automatic review. Now if only CentraLink could manage my work calendar …. not to mention my QC.
Note: CentraLink support will be available for the VersaCell X3 later this year.