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The CHUS biochemistry and hematology laboratories acquire state of the art technology (in order to provide) enabling faster, safer services

Sherbrooke, April 30, 2010

The CHUS biochemistry and hematology laboratories acquire state of the art technology (in order to provide) enabling faster, safer services

Sherbrooke’s University Hospital (Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke - CHUS) recently modernized its biochemistry and hematology laboratories.  “This laboratory automation project, representing investments of $3.5M in equipment and renovation, was accomplished in partnership with Roche Diagnostics and Sysmex.  It allows the CHUS to improve its performance and to shorten response and results turnaround time through the standardization of all testing procedures.  Patients will get the most benefits from this modernization, as our services are now faster and safer”, said the CHUS General Manager, Ms. Patricia Gauthier.
The new  automated equipment integrates all analysis procedures and steps, and ensures their uninterrupted flow.  Samples go from centrifuging (separation of solid particles in suspension in a liquid), to aliquoting (division of a sample into several portions), to analysis and results compiling  without ever being touched by an operator.  The robotized system manages the various tests to be run for a given patient out of a single test tube, which reduces significantly the amount of blood that is required.  Less blood also means fewer test tubes, and that is a small contribution to a better environment.  This high technology makes it possible to centralize all laboratory testing onto only a few analyzers that run 24/7.  In 2008-2009, the CHUS laboratory throughput reached almost 5 million tests and procedures.  Of this amount, almost 75%, i.e. 3.8 million tests, were processed by the biochemistry and hematology laboratories.

With the elimination of manual handling of the tubes and the automation of archiving tasks, lab technologists have been freed from a number of routine, repetitive chores.  Reduced handling and increased testing procedures standardization (80% of the biochemistry processes are now automated) also translate into reduced contamination, injury and errors risks.  The complete reorganization of the workload and laboratory environment, the renovation of the premises, as well as the acquisition of new technological equipment, all this contributed in improving the laboratories’ productivity and efficiency.

“The CHUS laboratory equipment, at both Hotel-Dieu and Fleurimont hospitals, was obsolete”, said Dr Pierre Chevier, Head of the Medical Biology Client Program.  “By upgrading and automating our instruments, we based all tests on a single platform and eliminated an important part of the repetitive tasks, which are potential sources of error. Because the CHUS multifunction lab technologists no longer have to handle, label and aliquote test tubes, they can devote more time to value-added activities benefiting patients, and this is undoubtedly a huge advantage with the current serious shortage of resources” added Dr. Chevrier.  The biochemistry lab is responsible for handling more than 150 urinalysis procedures for the samples that are sent daily to the CHUS.

“The general hematology area of the CHUS Hematology Department is namely responsible to execute the complete blood counts on the 1,000 or so samples that it receives each day.  Automating this area and acquiring new analyzers will allow performing 150 blood counts per hour on each of the three new analyzers.  Two of these analyzers have been installed at the Fleurimont site, while the third is located at the CHUS Hotel-Dieu.  Furthermore, with the new equipment, reliable and highly performing, we can run a larger number of blood parameters on each sample, which improves the information provided to the requesting physician” stated Dr Patrice Beauregard, Head of the Hematology Department.

“We are celebrating several “premieres” today”, said Mr. Christopher Parker, President and General Manager of Roche Diagnostics in Canada.  “As a first, we installed our equipments in an innovating configuration that optimizes the laboratory activities in a brand new way.  The CHUS laboratories have thus become a reference site for the whole industry and the main showcase of excellence in matters of accuracy, speed of execution, efficacy and cost efficiency in Canada.”

Other benefits
Doctors and staff of the CHUS are not the only representatives of the medical professionals who will benefit from this high technology.  The CHUS also serves several medical clinics, CLSC’s and family medicine groups in the Eastern Townships, in addition to the 150 or so healthcare institutions or specimen collection centers that are the CHUS external clients.  Once we have gone through the learning curve on the new equipment (Once we have become completely familiar with our new equipment), they will be receiving sooner the results of the tests they requested.  And where blood counts are concerned, the hematology department will be supplying more information than in the past.

Innovating partnership
This partnership agreement is a first where Roche Diagnostics, the leader in medical diagnostic in Canada, was entrusted with the responsibility for laboratory set-up and renovations, as well as new technology acquisition.  Roche made a commitment to provide the equipment offering the best available performance and throughput in a context of qualified labour shortage.” This is a real tangible benefit, given the severe shortage of laboratory technologists in Quebec.  Sysmex, another well-known name in the area of clinical diagnostic, took charge of the hematology laboratory, as Roche Diagnostics’ partner.”

“This Roche-CHUS association is meant to be a win-win partnership.  As mentioned by Mr. Parker, the CHUS laboratories will become Roche Diagnostics’ main technological showcase and the CHUS will, in return, be constantly provided with state-of-the art technology, ensuring its capacity to grow 5% per year over the next five years, without having to invest at all in the acquisition costs of the equipment” added Mrs. Gauthier. 

About the CHUS
The CHUS is the fourth most important healthcare facility in Quebec and it assumes three major roles.  It is the closest hospital for Sherbrooke residents; it provides specialized and superspecialized services to the whole Estrie area population; and finally, since the implementation of the RUIS (Réseaux universitaires intégrés de santé = Integrated university health networks), the CHUS is responsible for superspecialized services, such as cardiology, neurosurgery, medical and surgical oncology, and neonatology, for the Centre-du-Québec and Montérégie areas of the province.

About Roche Diagnostics
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 2009, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested almost 10 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 49.1 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


France Champagne
Direction des communications et des affaires publiques du CHUS (Head of CHUS Communications & Public Affairs)
819 346-1110, ext.  22562 or 819 578-1697 (cell)

Michèle Beaubien
Executive Director, Corporate and Governmental Affairs
Roche Diagnostics
Tel.: (450) 686-5500 or 1 800 361-2070, ext. 5500

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