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News Releases
  Caritas Carney Opens First Fully Automated Lab In Boston Area

WCVB-TV Ch. 5 producer Cathy An interviews Kevin Dole, MD, FACP, for a Healthbeat report on Caritas Carney's new fully automated laboratory.
Caritas Carney Hospital in Dorchester has become the first hospital in the Boston area to open a fully automated medical lab, bringing a new level of safety, speed and accuracy to the 2,000 blood tests of 100 different types the hospital performs daily.

"This state-of-the-art system," said Kevin Dole, MD, FACP, the hospital's director of pathology and laboratory medicine, "will ensure to a greater degree than ever before that the hospital's lab performs the right test for the right patient and produces the right result at the right time."

The new lab employs a high-tech system that uses bar code technology, robotics and conveyor belts to transport each blood sample, contained in a test tube, to the appropriate testing mechanism. Without anyone touching the blood sample, this system can uncap and recap each test tube, place it in a centrifuge, perform the test, store the blood, process the results and report those results, which the patient's physician can access immediately.

Dole said that, although this is the first lab of its type in the area, within a few years, this type of automated robotics system will become standard operating procedure around the country. This will happen, according to Dole, because the system:

  • Virtually eliminates the risk of misidentifying a patient sample;
  • Allows physicians to get test results, diagnose patients and provide treatment more quickly;
  • Can reduce by half the time it takes to diagnose drug overdoses, diabetic shock, medication-related seizures and other life-threatening conditions, meaning for some patients the difference between life and death;
  • Significantly reduces the risk of laboratory technicians' exposure to pathogens, biohazards and injuries from needles and other sharp objects;
  • Addresses the increasingly critical shortage of laboratory technicians; and
  • Allows hospitals to process more lab tests at reduced costs.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have pointed repeatedly to the importance of laboratory results in treatment decisions. JCAHO reports that 80 percent of information physicians use for diagnosis and treatment comes from the lab, and CDC lists laboratory errors that lead to adverse patient outcomes among its top seven healthcare safety challenges.

Caritas Carney Hospital is a 186-bed teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of Caritas Christi Health Care, the second largest health care system in New England.