Beyond Theranos, AACC Clinical Expo’s Focus is “Faster and Easier” Systems

Though most of the news at the American Association of Clinical Chemistry convention (AACC) in Philadelphia was made by the appearance of Theranos, the story on the exhibit floor was productivity enhancements, according to Kalorama Information. The healthcare market research firm and publisher of industry reports said that waves made by Theranos at its Monday presentation reached outside the industry, but subsided quickly as attendees in Philadelphia moved to address industry challenges. Many leaders put their automation solutions for core labs and other workstations front and center.

“Attempts at industry disruption moved to the periphery and advanced diagnostic technologies found few spotlights,” said Emil Salazar, analyst for Kalorama Information. “Rather, the predominant theme among leading IVD vendors was the optimization of clients’ established operations, whether through test and workflow automation or safeguards such as quality control (QC) products and solutions against antibiotic resistance and sepsis.”

Kalorama said that while the technological trajectory of the IVD market arcs further upward with next-generation sequencing (NGS) and mass spectrometry, more immediate investment priorities for labs figure to include core lab and workstation automation judging by floor space. Siemens used the AACC Annual Meeting to unveil its Atellica Solution for improved workflow core lab testing. The highly flexible immunoassay-clinical chemistry system includes a bi-directional magnetic sample conveyance system for improved speeds over conventional conveyors. Throughput can be scaled with up to 10 components and accommodates more than 30 sample container types in either core lab or comprehensive, multidisciplinary lab workflows. Other conspicuous lab automation solutions at AACC booths:

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific’s line of Phadia immunoanalyzers for automated autoimmune and allergy testing were showcased with floor models of the scalable Phadia 250 and high-throughput 2500. The Phadia 100 was not displayed due to rising importance of centralized, fully automated autoimmune testing.
  • Abbott Diagnostics unveiled its Alinity line of “harmonized sytems” across the core lab (clinical chemistry and immunoassays), hematology, point-of-care (POC) diagnostics, blood screening, and molecular diagnostics. The Alinity line of instruments will be supported by Abbott’s suite of AlinIQ professional services for labs as well as common informatics software across instruments for efficient, unified testing workflows.
  • Becton, Dickinson & Co. (BD) showcased its compact Kiestra Work Cell Automation (WCA) suitable for space-constrained hospital microbiology labs and other configurations for automated specimen processing, plate incubation, and plate imaging.

Automated core lab systems were also prominent at Beckman Coulter and Roche Diagnostics’ booths. Clinical labs in the United States are expected to further invest in automation in order to keep costs below market reimbursement rates. Benchmark Medicare payments for lab tests will see reductions as a consequence of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) beginning in 2018. Labs will need to meet or exceed the cost efficiencies of their larger peers in order to remain profitable and cost-competitive.


SOURCE Kalorama Information


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