How to reduce human error in Regina Maria laboratories

Interview with Andreea Alexandru, medical director of the Clinical Laboratories Division REGINA MARIA

Once considered a futuristic threat to humanity, artificial intelligence is now part of everyday life. In the medical field, artificial intelligence is changing the game with applications in decision support, image analysis and patient triage. Today, artificial intelligence helps doctors make quick decisions, improves the accuracy and ease of interpreting results, and reduces physician exhaustion.

It is very clear that artificial intelligence will revolutionize medicine. Impressive advances in this field are helping doctors and providing quick solutions to patients.

This year, the REGINA MARIA Central Laboratory integrated the use of artificial intelligence into the quality management system, thus becoming the first and only laboratory in the country that, following the audit of specialists, received a favorable opinion. With the help of artificial intelligence, specialists in the Central Laboratory reduce human error in the lab and guarantees the accuracy of the results.

How does this accreditation system work and what are the benefits of artificial intelligence in the laboratory for both doctors and patients? dr. Andreea Alexandru, medical director of the Clinical Laboratories Division REGINA MARIA.

  1. How important is the integration of artificial intelligence in laboratory medicine?

The introduction of artificial intelligence in the laboratory has multiple benefits for patients, providing a guarantee of reliable results, by eliminating human error in the interpretation of data in analysis laboratories. More than 50% of the laboratory parameters examined go through this procedure, shortening the release time of the results.

Medicine is constantly changing and adapted to modern times. Artificial intelligence is the most innovative part of laboratory medicine. Of course, it does not replace human decisions, but it helps a lot in increasing the speed of processing laboratory results and in the accuracy of the diagnosis that the doctor offers.

  1. What is the impact of this management system on the lives of physicians?

With the help of artificial intelligence, specialists from the Central Laboratory have implemented an automatic verification procedure, a procedure that meets the international standards of the Clinical & Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). This procedure has a major impact on the way doctors work and their professional lives, being a helpful tool that gives them the opportunity to focus on complex cases, which require increased attention.

  1. How does the use of artificial intelligence in the laboratories of the REGINA MARIA Private Health Network help patients?

By introducing artificial intelligence into the laboratory, the results of over 50% of the blood tests processed in the Central Laboratory are verified by going through specific algorithms. Thus, by eliminating human error, by eliminating the variables brought by different specialists to manual validation, we still have the guarantee of reliable results.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, with the help of artificial intelligence we are able to release the results in a short time.

  1. The Central Laboratory received a favorable opinion from the specialsetfor the use of artificial intelligence. Please tell us what steps were required

Yes, the Central Laboratory is accredited to the ISO 15189: 2012 standard for medical analysis laboratories. In Romania, the evaluations of the processes in the medical laboratories are carried out by the non-governmental organization RENAR, which comes and evaluates the projects and procedures submitted by the clinical laboratories for obtaining the accreditation on the standard in force.

Accreditation is the official confirmation that our intelligence projectcomplicated has met the requirements of ISO 15189: 2012 and is a safe one. The accreditation process involves fulfilling a series of stringent conditions regarding the quality of services. Following the documentcomplicatedDuring the self-validation process, the procedure was submitted to the accreditation forum, and the experts verified, evaluated and accredited the documents and the implemented process.

  1. Once this accreditation is received, can it be lost?

Of course. An accreditation cycle lasts 4 years. During these 4 years, there arecomplicated annual surveillance visits, as well as extraordinary visits, to audit the maintenance of the quality management system’s compliance with the requirements of the standard. Every 4 years, one accreditation cycle ends and another begins. The requirement of these accreditations, evaluations, supervisions is constantly maintained because the safety of the accredited processes is reflected in the quality of the services offered by the laboratory.

  1. What is the actual use of artificial intelligence software in developing results?

Artificial intelligence is integrated into our laboratory quality management process. The algorithm passes each result through a process with many decision points, taking into account several variables, with their integration in the patient’s history, providing an interpretation of the analysis. Over 50% of the laboratory parameters go through this procedure.

The results that do not pass all the decision points of the algorithm end up being validated by the laboratory specialists, who carefully manage the cases in which the results do not respect the conditions of the self-validation algorithm.

  1. What are the development plans of the laboratory division of the REGINA MARIA Health Network?

We are constantly looking for new developments in the field of laboratory medicine and are investing the necessary resources to develop new projects in our laboratories, with the sole aim of providing patients with safe results in the shortest possible time. The artificial intelligence project is one that our specialists have been working on for over 1 year, a project very dear to us, we are glad that we managed to implement it for the first time in Romania.

In the next period, we look at the development of the range of analyzes, especially the genetic tests that we offer in our laboratories, for which we feel an increased demand from year to year. We will continue to bring tests to Romania for the first time and we will introduce in our laboratories the new generation sequencing (NGS) for various pathologies.

This year we will relocate the Genetic Center laboratory in Bucharestetinside the REGINA MARIA Central Laboratory, in order to facilitate the collaboration between the doctors in the laboratory, who discuss the cases of our patients, in order to provide the best result.

In Cluj, we are preparing to launch the largest regional laboratory, on the model of our Central Laboratory in Bucharest. We will bring in the same location the clinical laboratory from the REGINA MARIA Hospital in the city, the Santomar laboratory specialized in pathological anatomy and cytology and the Genetic Center laboratory. We will have a single location in Cluj that will host all the laboratory departments, continuing the local processing of an extensive range of analyzes, with a shorter time to release the results, even for complex analyzes, such as biopsies or genetic testing.

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