Media Releases

New automated regional lab means better efficiency and increased patient safety

March 7, 2011

South West Health (SWH) is pleased to be one of two districts in Nova Scotia to implement a fully automated and integrated regional core laboratory.  With the new Modular Pre-Analytics (MPA) system from Roche Diagnostics, the Yarmouth Regional Hospital laboratory will make important efficiency and patient safety gains. 

Blood collected is loaded directly into the automated core lab equipment as it was taken from the patient.  The MPA spins the samples in a centrifuge, safely removes test tube caps, separates samples, recaps tubes and barcodes them for efficient tracking and storage.  The new equipment then directly transfers samples to existing automated equipment to complete the required tests.  Previously, lab technologists manually performed all of these tasks.

“Using our staffing resources wisely and improving patient safety through efficiencies is part of our continuous quality improvement process,” says Blaise MacNeil, CEO, South West Health.  “Medical Laboratory Technologists are in short supply across the country, this automated equipment allows us to focus our skilled professionals on performing and interpreting complex tests and procedures, troubleshooting equipment issues and maintaining essential quality control processes,” he adds. 

“We are very proud to partner with South West Health to showcase the latest technology in laboratory automation.” said Christopher Parker, President and General Manager of Roche Diagnostics in Canada. “This fully automated system allows the laboratory to deliver the highest quality patient results while at the same time, significantly enhancing testing efficiency.  It will also provide Yarmouth Regional Hospital the flexibility to quickly respond to future growth in testing requirements.”

“This system is a major step forward in the delivery of laboratory services since it has reduced turn around times for routine tests that are required every day,” says Holly Cottreau, district laboratory services manager, SWH.  The MPA is expected to handle more than 100,000 specimens each year.

“My sincere congratulations to South West Health staff for making this happen within existing laboratory budgets,” says David Dow, acting chair, SWH board of directors.  More complicated tests that were previously referred to other labs can now be done in the YRH lab. These savings have been re-invested in this new MPA equipment.

In addition to the new automation equipment Roseway, Digby General and Yarmouth Regional Hospitals labs have also received new hematology (blood) and chemistry analyzers funded by the Department of Health and Wellness.  “We must also acknowledge that hospital foundations and auxiliaries have over the years been extremely supportive of replacing lab equipment and they have made significant investments in all three hospital labs,” says Cottreau.

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About South West Health 

The South West Nova District Health Authority is one of nine district health authorities in Nova Scotia created in 2001 to bring health care decision-making closer to the community level and to improve accountability for health care decisions.  South West Health comprises 3 hospitals and multiple community programs located in Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby Counties.  The 1200+ staff members of South West Health provide health care, prevention and awareness services to 61,000 residents of the district.  More information is available at

For more information, please contact:
Barbara Johnson, Cmmunications Drector


About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: and

For more information, please contact:

Michèle Beaubien
Roche Diagnostics
(450) 686-5500

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