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Hidden Heroes of the STAT Lab
Frontline healthcare workers have received well-deserved recognition for their dedication and hard work during the pandemic. However, another team of heroes working behind the scenes is just as critical to patient care. These “hidden heroes” are the laboratory workers who prepare the specimens and perform the tests essential to the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
For example, when a patient arrives in the ER with chest pains, the doctor will order tests to diagnose and treat the condition properly. A blood sample is drawn, labeled, and sent for testing. But when results are needed in as little as 20 minutes, the sample cannot go to the general lab. Instead, it must get fast-tracked through the STAT lab, and the clock is ticking.
The STAT laboratory is at the heart of every hospital’s critical care process and is often a hub of frenetic activity. Specimens must be prepared and analyzed quickly and accurately. The process needs to flow smoothly as any obstacle could cause delays that seriously impact the patient’s health. For this reason, the STAT lab must be well-staffed, well-supplied, and well-equipped.
The STAT Centrifuge
The centrifuge is one of many pieces of equipment used to process and prepare serological specimens for analysis in the clinical laboratory. The urgent nature of the STAT lab requires a faster turn-around time facilitated by the use of multiple, smaller STAT centrifuges rather than a few large-capacity models. This configuration allows lab technicians to process the specimens as they arrive efficiently.
This also means that STAT centrifuges are regularly pushed to their limits, making them the unsung heroes of lab equipment. Their function, while simple, is the lynchpin to the rest of the testing procedure.
What to Consider When Purchasing a STAT Centrifuge
When it comes time to purchase a new STAT centrifuge, there are more important things to consider than just the price. The team at Hettich recommends that you consider these six essential factors when shopping for your next STAT centrifuge:
The first quality you should look for in a STAT centrifuge is durability. Your STAT lab needs to quickly get results back to the physicians, so every minute counts. A STAT centrifuge must spin at very high speeds to achieve clean specimen separation in under 5 minutes, creating powerful g-forces that add tremendous stress to the mechanical components.
To stay competitive in today’s price-driven market, some manufacturers utilize lesser quality materials that lack durability. Your STAT centrifuge needs to hold up through the rigors of testing daily. Any mechanical trouble or breakdown can cause delays that could even cost lives. A quality-engineered centrifuge is well worth the extra investment and will help avoid dangerous breakdowns and costly repairs.
Along with durability, a STAT centrifuge must also be reliable. It would be best to have a consistent performance and separation from batch to batch, day in and day out. This speaks to the quality of design and craftsmanship of the centrifuge design.
You depend on solid functioning and accurate results to keep the testing process flowing smoothly and quickly through the lab. Having to re-spin a batch of tubes or re-draw the specimens because your centrifuge is not producing consistent results can have a devastating impact on your lab and overall patient care.
So be sure to do your research on the manufacturer. Query other lab techs and managers and your internal biomedical engineers to get their perspectives and opinions. Choose a manufacturer with a reputation for quality and safety. Take the time to review their regulatory certifications and FDA registration.
In addition to durability and reliability, a third factor to consider when choosing a STAT centrifuge is flexibility. Many centrifuges contain only two or three preset spin cycles, but this may be setting your lab up for future trouble. Because the STAT lab can be a hectic and unpredictable workplace, you will want a centrifuge that can adjust to your needs with minimal effort and disruption. We recommend choosing a centrifuge that offers both preset and programable speed controls. This flexibility will increase your efficiency and adaptability to whatever emergencies arise.
STAT labs typically utilize multiple, smaller centrifuges to avoid bottlenecks and keep the specimen tubes moving once they arrive. Using the same manufacturer for all your STAT centrifuges will give you more consistent operating parameters and results among the machines. Brand consistency also simplifies the training process, helping your lab run more efficiently.
Breadth of Manufacturer Portfolio
As you determine which manufacturer to invest in for your STAT lab centrifuges, it is essential to choose a company with a broad portfolio of laboratory equipment and a deep understanding of the laboratory marketplace. They should also be a proven innovator with a solid pipeline of new products in development.
When choosing a STAT centrifuge, you’re not just purchasing equipment; you’re acquiring a company and its expertise. So along with the breadth of the product portfolio, you should also consider the level of commitment you will get from their sales and technical support teams.
Some things to look for: does the company have a technical sales team who will support the equipment and your staff through set-up, training, and service? You will want a sales organization that functions as consultants to support all your service needs.
Also, make sure their technical support team is knowledgeable and responsive. Choose a partner that makes it easy to connect with a live agent.
Finally, what kind of warranty does the company provide on their products? Typical warranties run for a year, or possibly two. A five-year warranty is nearly unheard of in the business.
Choosing Your STAT Lab Partner
There is much more to purchasing a centrifuge than just the price. When it comes to the critical job of centrifugation in the STAT lab, lives depend on your centrifuge’s performance and the support of its manufacturer. Your STAT lab has little room for error or mechanical breakdown. When buying a STAT centrifuge, good is not good enough.
If you are looking for a new centrifuge, the team at Hettich has the experience and commitment to be a partner you can depend on. Visit hettweb.com to learn more or contact one of our representatives today.
Hettich Centrifuges for STAT Applications
The Hettich EBA 200S and Hettich EBA 280S are small, high-performance centrifuges that provide rapid separation for a quick turnaround of your STAT chemistry, coag., and pediatric samples. Models achieve consistent platelet counts in just minutes. Learn more about our options for STAT centrifugation.