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‘Automation will definitely lead to reduced error rate in reported results’

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With the growing need of India’s healthcare delivery system, automation is a promising solution available to medical laboratories, informs Dr Rajeev Gautam, President, HORIBA India to Prathiba Raju

How will medical laboratories in India evolve in terms of automation?
In a country like India, where sample load is high and well-qualified healthcare technologists and pathologists are scarce and are not-easy-to-access resource, the only answer available to the medical laboratory is automation. If anyhow, the entire life cycle of a laboratory sample can be automated, starting from sample collection to sample labelling and testing, it will definitely lead to reduced error rate in reported results. Less human intervention means less probability of error and more accuracy and precision of desired results. Obviously, automation is a promising solution available to medical laboratories with the growing need of country’s healthcare delivery system that must cater to masses, and not just the classes.

If you get a chance to talk about one product of HORIBA Medical, which one would it be?
All products of HORIBA Medical are associated with a long success story in the global market. However, I would like to introduce the readers to HORIBA Evolutive Laboratory Organisation (HELO) — HORIBA’s latest high-end automation technology — recently launched in the country by HORIBA India. It is not just a product for sample testing, but a solution for every high-end, high-workload medical laboratory. Decades of research have brought “HELO” as a unique solution, which is not just operator-friendly, but also takes care of specific demographic variations that exist and vary from geography to geography across the country like India. HORIBA is a globally reputed research-oriented technology company, that has years of experience in R&D activities. We believe not just in manufacturing, but introducing and upgrading existing technologies by spending around 10 per cent in R&D activities related to our products. HELO has various technical aspects and additional upgradation options that allow medical laboratories to keep their avenues of upgrading their laboratories in future as well.

Any message for the diagnostic industry?
I think, automation may add to efficiency and performance of laboratories in terms of number of samples tested and number of patients treated by a healthcare facility. However, real essence of patient care always lies in a ‘human-touch’ that can only be provided by a healthcare worker during sample collection, treatment, procedure and other related day-to-day operations in any healthcare delivery system. To have a well-trained, well-groomed and an understanding laboratory technologist must be on the priority list of every medical laboratory. Even the best automation can never replace an average trained technologist. HORIBA is looking forward to bring innovative training programmes. Our well-reputed and established programmes like HIT i.e. HORIBA Interpretation Training, HOT i.e. HORIBA Operational Training and HABX workshops for haematology technologists have been well received by the medical fraternity pan-India. HORIBA India has one of the six international training centres currently operating from Delhi. The same is slated for an expansion at our upcoming facility in Nagpur. Soon, we shall see a training centre of global level imparting training to not only our team from across the globe, but also to the users, so that when they come to the HORIBA equipment, they are well-prepared to handle it.

Every second saved by a technician due to automation can be well spent on his patient which is his first priority. HORIBA believes that learning is of prime importance for any healthcare professional and it is not just the product that we sell to our customers i.e. doctors and laboratories, but we strongly believe that real success lies in how we can educate, develop and train our customers in medical laboratories to add to the time that they actually spend in listening, counselling and understanding patient need to bring health and happiness in his/her life.

What is the simplest success mantra that you suggest for the young budding leaders in the medical device industry?
I would just like to say that success does not lie in a particular mantra, it is how you solve and face day-to-day situations and how you grow out of the response that you get from your customers and colleagues. However, I would like to add the following five points which will definitely add constructively to their life and career:

  • Spend more time with customers and not on laptops and gadgets
  • Talk to your team daily for at least five minutes in the morning and five minutes at the end of the day, which will create happiness amongst team members, and happy teams are winning teams
  • Give time to yourself – grow and learn everyday and in every opportunity you get in your job
  • Spend at least 10 per cent of your salary on yourself, which will boost your self-esteem and confidence to perform
  • Keep yourself well-dressed and well-groomed

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