Clinical Lab Manager - News, Editorial and Products for the Clinical Laboratory
A clinician presenting a patient with an empty urine sample container

Innovative Automated Urinalysis

Automation can provide a solution to the biggest challenges in urinalysis testing

Kristin Hall, MS, MT (ASCP)

Kristin Hall, MS, MT (ASCP), is a medical technologist with more than 17 years of experience and a product manager for Sysmex America urinalysis. She earned a bachelor of arts in biology from Austin College and a master's of science in health studies from Texas Women’s University. 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges that clinical labs face in their urinalysis testing?

A: The primary challenge in the marketplace is a reduction in available trained medical technologists. The impact not only affects urinalysis but the entire field of clinical laboratory science. Traditionally, urinalysis was a heavily manual process. But testing volumes have increased and facilities are challenged with resource limitations. 

Q: Can you tell me about Sysmex's urinalysis solutions and how they address these challenges? 

A: To address these challenges, Sysmex provides an automated solution that promotes productivity by using fluorescent flow cytometry and digital imaging for in vitro diagnostic use in screening patient populations found in clinical laboratories. Our solution also removes tech-to-tech variability by allowing the flow cytometry to enumerate and identify sediment particles. Our scalable solution utilizes fluorescent flow cytometry methodology to analyze both the physical and chemical properties of urine sediment particles, providing insight into the size, shape, complexity, and staining characteristics of particles. Furthermore, we provide an optional digital imaging component for particle identification, reducing the need for manual microscopy by capturing static images of the settled particles. The static images are captured by a digital camera through an objective lens providing microscope quality images viewable as individual particles or whole field images. 

Q: How does your technology help offset staffing challenges? 

A: A fully integrated urinalysis solution like our UNSeries offers automation, instrument reliability, and facilitates highly efficient workflow. The fluorescent flow cytometry technology uniquely addresses staffing challenges by consistently analyzing tens of thousands of sediment particles, reducing variability, and the potential of human errors. When staffing is at a minimum, it is important to have a system that is reliable and requires little to no maintenance. Finally, eliminating technician time on negative or normal tests facilitates the workflow, allowing those shifts with minimal staffing to expedite their specimen reviews quickly and efficiently. 

Q: How does your technology help labs increase their patient load testing? 

A: Sysmex’s modular scalable solution is ideal for customers who see a rise in patient testing or expect to in the future. Our scalable solution, requiring only one technician to operate, is able to meet the customers where they are today while providing the ability to add additional components to the same automation line to address patient growth. This solution also works well for consolidated integrated health networks and the communities they serve. Our solution best fits this niche because we offer various configuration designs to fit patient test volumes from rural clinics to large city hospitals. 

Q: How can smaller labs with fewer resources benefit from your technology?

A: Automation! Providing a solution that can automate and report the majority of a facility’s samples, which tend to be negative or normal, without technologist intervention allows staff to focus on other critical tasks, such as COVID-19 testing. 

Q: What else would you like to tell me? 

A: Sysmex understands the importance of the laboratory in the decision process for clinicians and this pushes us to continued innovation, such as improvements in reagents and data processing. As a trusted partner, we will continue to listen and take actionable measures to meet the challenges customers bring to our attention, and to provide products we know will make a positive impact in laboratory operations.