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November 16, 2016

CellaVision: Bringing real-time blood analysis to West Lincoln

CellaVision. It sounds like a futuristic TV you might’ve seen on the Jetsons. But this technology is much more valuable than that. It transmits images of blood samples from one location to another, and it’s now in use at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).

Here’s how it works:
– When a lab technologist first examines a blood sample, they decide whether or not there’s anything abnormal about it.
– If they want to get a second opinion, they load a slide into the CellaVision machine.
– A microscope takes a picture of the cells in that slide and sends that picture to a special lab where trained experts can examine it.
– In real time, they can consult with the technologist who sent the sample and provide a diagnosis.

“If there’s something abnormal, like leukemia, we have the expertise to recognize that.”

WLMH started using CellaVision technology late this summer as part of its integration into the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) family of hospitals. Each HHS site has a core lab, and CellaVision technology allows them to connect to the organization’s central Malignant Hematology Lab (MHL) that consults on more complex cases. CellaVision streamlines the consultation process, since urgent samples don’t need to be couriered to the central lab for review.

“Previously you’d have to look at them under the microscope on site and look for abnormal cells on site,” says WLMH lab supervisor, Sue McIntee. “If we had something that was very concerning, like leukemia for example, we would then send it out by courier to the laboratory in Hamilton for confirmation.”

“This is the expert reading the slide in real time.”

McIntee says the technology now allows them to deliver important results faster. “Now we’re able to load the slides into the CellaVision and they are read by the lab in Hamilton in real time,” she says. “This is the expert reading the slide in real time.”

Colleen Brooks, a lab technologist in the MHL, says this process allows them to deliver a detailed analysis much more quickly.

“If there’s something abnormal, like leukemia, we have the expertise to recognize that,” says Brooks. “And we have doctors who specialize in this right across that hall that we can consult with. Adding this technology at WLMH means that at every HHS site, you are going to get immediate access to the highest experts.”