Dr. Pamela Kibsey and a lab technician examining a digital photo taken of a specimen by Royal Jubilee Hospital's new fully automated microbiology laboratory. The new system will allow more tests of specimens to be done faster

Dr. Pamela Kibsey and a lab technician examining a digital photo taken of a specimen by Royal Jubilee Hospital's new fully automated microbiology laboratory. The new system will allow more tests of specimens to be done faster

Royal Jubilee lab takes big step forward with new microbiology technology

Royal Jubilee is the first hospital in North America to get a fully automated microbiology lab.

Royal Jubilee Hospital will be able to process patient samples faster and with more accuracy, thanks to a new state-of-the-art fully automated microbiology lab. Royal Jubilee is the first hospital in North America to have such a system.

“It will make a huge difference for our patients, because we’ll have critical information to guide their therapy faster,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO of Island Health.

The new lab system cost $4.3 million to install, and was done in partnership with the CRD. It officially goes live on Dec. 8.

Previously, staff had to manually place specimens on petri dishes, spread them in a specific pattern then take them to the incubator. After 16 to 24 hours, technologists would then examine bacteria growth on the plates one by one.

With the new system, specimens are placed on plates automatically, then spread by specially designed magnetic beads. The plates are sent along a conveyer belt into the incubator, which takes digital images of the samples. The images can be viewed at any lab technologist’s computer.

Using this new process, 200 samples can be processed in an hour, as opposed to 40 to 60 per hour when done manually.

“It’s a continuous process that the robot does so the technologists don’t have to manually move plates around anymore,” said Dr. Pamela Kibsey, Island Health’s medical director of infection control and medical lead of the microbiology lab at Royal Jubilee.

The accuracy of the new robotic system is now 100 per cent for evert single specimen, said Carr.

“It raises our confidence and it raises our certainty in terms of diagnostics substantially.”

despite the increased speed and efficiency, Carr and Kibsey assured no jobs would be lost as a result.

“One of the problems in North America is that we are facing looking staffing shortages,” said Kibsey. “We have to have a way of increasing our capacity, being faster, with the same amount of technologists. We have to do more with the same people.”

While this is the first automated microbiology lab of its kind at a hospital in North America, there are two private labs that have similar systems. One is at DynaLIFE lab in Edmonton and the other is at CML HealthCare lab in Mississauga.

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is ranked fourth out of 27 Canadian cities for the best places for youth to work in, according to a RBC report. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria among best Canadian cities for youth to work in, says RBC report

Region ranked fourth out of 27, behind Vancouver, Hamilton and Edmonton

Saanich police reported an increase in violent crimes and a drop in traffic incidents in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final quarter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police report increase in violent crimes during first quarter of 2021

More domestic violence, less property crime and distracted driving compared to end of 2020

Donna Brower (left) and her daughter Carol Anne Penner, members of the Silver Swans – a quilting group of 12 ladies who meet at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary – with a mountain of masks they sewed. (Photo submitted by Julia Dawson)
Saanich quilting group nabs first prize in Volunteer BC photo contest

Silver Swans sewing club raised more than $12,000 for Swan Lake nature sanctuary

The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)
Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders

After seizing a handgun from his home on Tuesday, Victoria police arrested a wanted man on Wednesday after he fled officers on his bike. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man wanted on several warrants flees Victoria officers on bike

He was arrested after a brief struggle, transported to hospital with injuries

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Needles, feces and the unhoused send Island kids baseball program to greener pastures

Campbell River minor baseball program switches ballparks over growing safety concerns

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

Most Read