Reminder: Pathology open house at NCRC coming Friday

May 29, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

An automation line spanning 50+ feet sits in the middle of an otherwise empty Clinical Microbiology Laboratory on the campus of the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC). For now, it’s surrounded by a small team of laboratory technicians running validations and learning how to run and maintain the machinery. However, within a matter of weeks, the first specimens will hit the line.

The Kiestra, as it’s named, is the first of its kind in Michigan and will be the first in the U.S. to be utilized 24 hours a day. It’s just one of the improvements planned in the Pathology Relocation and Renovation Project (PRR).

Michigan Medicine faculty and staff are invited to check out the Kiestra and other exciting advancements as the Department of Pathology celebrates its move to a bigger, more efficient space at NCRC. The department, led by Carl V. Weller Professor and Chair Charles Parkos, M.D., Ph.D., will host an open house on Friday, June 1, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Enjoy light refreshments and a tour, including the Kiestra line, highlighting results of Michigan Medicine’s first full-scale Lean Facility Design project. Department faculty and staff worked closely with project managers and architects to design a space that fosters collaboration and efficiency.

For instance, the automated Kiestra will allow for samples to be plated and streaked and then automatically moved to the incubator where they can grow faster, uninterrupted with cameras monitoring their progress.

Microbiology’s highly trained technicians will spend less time moving and reorganizing plates and more time where their expertise is needed.

“There’s definitely an impact to quality of care because the streaking and processing is being standardized,” said Paul Lephart, Ph.D., D(ABMM), associate director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. “They have very precise streaking patterns which are designed to maximize your isolation of bacterial colonies.”

Being able to move directly to identification of the colonies, he says, can save a whole day.

Growing needs

The Department of Pathology receives more than 115,000 surgical specimens and 15,000 consultations and is responsible for more than 6.1 million billed laboratory tests annually. The department’s clinical needs have grown at a rate of 7.8 percent annually over the past five years, resulting in a need for larger, smarter and more innovative facilities at Michigan Medicine.

In a $160 million, two-phase project, space at both the North Campus Research Complex and University Hospital will be renovated and pathology’s faculty and staff — currently stationed at ten locations across the medical center — will be consolidated into five. Phase one is nearing completion, and department administration, clinical faculty, education and non-stat labs will begin moving to North Campus at the end of this month, with completion projected for September. The first clinical samples are expected to arrive in cytogenetics at NCRC on June 11.

“We are working to build the Department of Pathology of the future,” said Parkos. “The venture will greatly facilitate the achievement of pathology’s clinical goals, providing a high level of support to both our patients and providers.”

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