ProTube™: more than a labeler!

The smart solution for ensuring safe and controlled sample collection and preparation - anytime, anywhere.

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Can we trust the quality of specimens entering the Laboratory?

Since the inception of Total Laboratory Automation (TLA), clinical laboratories have increased their overall efficiency while significantly decreasing errors associated with human interaction. However, the positive attributes of automation can still be compromised by the quality of samples arriving at the laboratory.

  • Is Patient ID associated with the right sample?
  • Is the specimen in the appropriate tube/container?
  • Has the sample suffered from transport conditions?
  • Is the blood volume enough for the required tests?

Pre-analytical errors can ultimately influence the results being provided to clinicians.

The blind spot in the Testing process

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The literature agrees that the origin of diagnostic errors resides mainly in the phases that surround the actual testing of the specimen. The activities in the collection phase generate around 62% of errors; this is the most vulnerable and at-risk step in the entire process.

These errors (Carraro, Plebani – Errors in stat laboratory, Clinical Chemistry 2007) generate associated cost, reduce efficiency, and can severely compromise patient safety.

Recent studies report that misidentification errors are associated with the worst clinical outcomes, resulting in misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. When left undetected, patient mismatch, incorrect tube handling can induce a snowball effect of errors throughout the processing of that sample – ultimately compounding additional costs and risk of patient safety.

ProTube™ was specially designed to mitigate pre-analytical errors and, when implemented, it can be a key enabler for accreditation compliance, as ProTube™ can deliver the highest quality of samples possible.

How ProTube™ works

ProTube™ provides unprecedented visibility over the entire process:

1. Positive Patient Identification (PPID) – when integrated into the LIS or HIS, ProTube™ can verify correct patient ID through various barcode/chip identifiers (test request form, patient wristband, national ID card) and biometric scanners [Right patient!]

2. Order Review and Tube Selection – once the patient is positively identified, ProTube™ downloads and displays the patient’s tests required tubes and necessary specimens, then it guarantees that the correct tube is selected (tube length and cap color recognition) [Right tube!]

3. Labeling – ProTube™automatically labels tubes and special containers in front of the patient – always leaving an inspection window to confirm sample volume and quality [Right label!]

4. Sample Collection – during the collection process the system displays important process information, such as the order of draw and the number of tube inversions recommend by the manufacturer.

5. Process Check Out – ProTube™ records containers and collection time, then shares key process data directly with the LIS or HIS for quick and complete analytics reporting. ProTube™ provides complete process visibility via the powerful data analytics software, allowing laboratories and centralized management understanding of who collected the specimen, where, what and when [Right data!].

The ProTube™ suite

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ProTube™  is an adaptive, modular and scalable product line to suit the majority of specimen collection environments.

The solution can be assembled and configured with various components:

  • ProTube™ station: desktop solution including the ProTube™ master device, auxiliary printer, and a graphic interface.
  • ProTube™ analytix: powerful IT platform which aggregates real-time data from all connected devices and allows full process traceability. ProTube™ analytix offers customized reporting (graphs and KPIs) and Business Intelligence indicators, relevant information and highlights actionable insights. It tracks the full history of the sample (who, when and what) and traces every single event in the process, including all the steps during collection, transportation and until reaching the lab.

Other components are coming soon…

  • ProTube™ shuttle*: mobile cart solution that brings the maximum level of automation & traceability for blood collection at the bedside, ideal for inpatient setting and hospital wards. ProTube™ shuttle is wirelessly connected to the central control server. Once the patient ID is recognized (via a wristband or any other identifier), the device retrieves the order and guides the healthcare professional throughout the process.
  • Smart Scale*: optional module for sample preparation optimization, which matches the tube with a unique Inpeco RFID rack, confirming tube insertion and checking that the correct volume of blood is in the tube, which prevents low volume or empty tubes being transported to the Lab.
  • ProTube™ mobile*: the handheld mobile solution for point of care collection including a portable Bluetooth printer to produce labels which are manually placed on the containers. It can be used with 4G / WiFi connection to update patient work lists and identify patients.
  • ProTube™ transportation*: solutions for tracking and monitoring sample transportation conditions from the collection point to the laboratory: including time, temperature, acceleration, light exposure, humidity and with GPS incorporated.

Watch the video and see how it works

* not yet commercially available