Guest contribution of the Union Clinical Laboratory, Taiwan:
The Union Clinical Laboratory (UCL) was established in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1973 with a total 100 employees. We perform diverse laboratory tests in the field of haematology, biochemistry, immunology and microbiology and provide clinical diagnostic services to hospitals, the general public and biomedical research institutes and participate in inter-hospital clinical trial laboratories.
UCL constantly strives to provide high quality and reliable test results to its users, and thus we have successfully attained several important laboratory accreditations in the field of clinical laboratory testing.
|2006||Clinical Diagnostic Testing Accreditation by Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF)|
|2010||Laboratory Quality Assurance Accreditation by College of American Pathologists (CAP) in US|
|2010||Glycohemoglobin Accreditation by National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Programme (NGSP) in Taiwan|
|2010||Faecal Occult Blood Testing Accreditation by Ministry of Health and Welfare Certification (Taiwan)|
In the field of autoimmune diseases, UCL processes around 240 samples every day using indirect immunofluorescence testing (IIFT). Our services include IIFT for ANA, ANCA, anti-dsDNA, ASMA, AMA and anti-NMDAR. Assay processing used to be done manually by medical technologists; however, we have recognised that nowadays this is a waste of time and resources. Thus, in 2017, we collaborated with EUROIMMUN South East Asia (SEA) Pte Ltd to implement automated solutions into our IIFT workflow.
Our automated IIFT routine now includes two devices, Sprinter XL for IIFT incubation and EUROPattern for computer-aided microscopy and immunofluorescence pattern recognition, to facilitate the processing and reading of IIFT slides in the lab. The solution also encompasses EUROLabOffice, a middleware that allows all patient information to be synchronised from all workstations and to review IIFT results even before transferring it to the laboratory information system.
Since implementation, we have observed a reduction of required ANA dilutions from 140 to 125 due to EUROPattern software’s ability to perform titer estimation. The reduction in the number of repeats has greatly decreased the turn-around-time (TAT) and reduced reagent usage.
An estimated time of 240 minutes can be saved with this workflow. This allows medical technologists to use their time to focus on other important aspects of the laboratory routine.
In addition to the time saving, we have seen that the high-resolution images taken by EUROPattern facilitate the efficient pattern verification by the medical technologist comparing them to recommended ANA IIFT standard patterns during the review process. The batch review feature of the EUROPattern classification software allows us to rapidly sort out all negative samples with just a single mouse click. The software is also capable of capturing the fluorescence intensity of the images and allows the user to view and compare this to an image taken at lower light intensity. This function supports the correct interpretation of IIFT patterns even in the event of masking effects in undiluted samples caused by intense fluorescence
We have chosen EUROPattern Suite since it meets our laboratory’s needs for quality and efficiency. We would surely recommend this automated platform for laboratories using IIFT, because the automated system has improved the laboratory workflow and efficiency. We are looking forward to the incorporation of additional parameters such as ANCA, anti-dsDNA, ASMA, AMA, anti-NMDAR, Legionella antibodies and FTA-ABS IIFT into our EUROPattern system for more automated processing and interpretation in the future.