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June 2022

New lab technology to bring faster test results to people across Southeast Ontario
Article courtesy of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC)

Thanks to a $300,000 funding grant from Ontario Health, patients who go to hospitals across Southeastern Ontario will soon have access to faster blood test results. The funding has been used to purchase new digital morphology technology, which has now been installed in a number of hospitals across the region, including in Brockville, Napanee, Perth and Smiths Falls and will help clients across the FLA region. 

 

When patients arrive in a hospital, one of the first laboratory tests that is usually ordered is a complete blood count. Traditionally, complete blood counts are viewed under a microscope by a medical laboratory technologist who would visually identify abnormalities that require further review. Lab teams in smaller hospitals may not regularly see blood abnormalities such as aggressive lymphoma cells, malaria, or leukemia; the blood film slides would need to be couriered to Kingston to be reviewed by one of Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) hematopathologists. Now, instead of having to send the bloods slides to KHSC, the new technology digitally scans the blood film and is able to identify any abnormal cells enabling patients to receive quicker access to the care they need.

“This work is a real testament to the dedication of health-care providers across Southeastern Ontario to introduce technology and improve care closer to home for everyone in the region,” says Dr. David Good, Service Chief for Hematopathology at KHSC. “Within moments we can now see the images on our computer and provide a diagnosis. Timely identification of some of these hematological disorders is critical because some conditions, if caught early, are easily treated.”

The KHSC team, with support from partners across the region have been working for the last four-to-five years to plan for and secure funding for this new technology. As of March 31, all of the digital morphology analyzers were connected to upload images to a central server. Processes and procedures between the hospitals will be standardized before going live with the regional network.

Dr. Good and a member of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre laboratory services department with the new complete blood counts machine.