Did you know that hemolysis can affect blood test results? Hemolysis is the rupture of red blood cells and the most common pre-analytical error in medical diagnostics. The blood can be hemolyzed due to circumstances inside the body, the procedures during blood collection or due to sample handling and transportation. Hemolysis is especially common at the emergency department where typically 5-12% of all blood samples are hemolyzed. Hemolyzed blood samples interfere with laboratory analytics and can potentially impact the quality of care, lead to increased costs and reduced patient safety. When hemolysis is detected in the laboratory, the sample may need to be redrawn and results will be delayed. This increases turnaround times, waiting times, patient length of stay and time to treatment.
Is there a solution to tackle this problem? Yes! Our Swedish partner Hemcheck developed Helge – an innovative device, simply designed to detect hemolysis in blood samples at the point of care.
What makes this solution unique?
According to Joen Averstad, CEO of Hemcheck, the concept is based on disposable tests with a unique filtration technology. Hemcheck’s technology can instantly separate plasma or serum from whole blood, without the need of centrifugation. The equipment is supplemented with a reader using a photometric method for detection of hemolyzed blood samples in vacuum tubes and blood gas syringes. The entire process of analyzing the blood samples on hemolysis takes about 10 seconds. Joen stated that this technology ensures a reliable result which is much faster than e.g. the current process of laboratory analytics within hospitals (typically 1-2 hours lead time in acute situations). The current process does not include hemolysis detection in blood gas analyzers although these instruments release results sensitive to this interference.
How does it impact patients’ health and healthcare?
Hemolysis distorts the results of many common analyses which can lead to wrong conclusions about the patient’s condition and best treatment. In many of these cases, blood samples need to be retaken. Joen explains: “by identifying this error directly at the patient side, it will lead to improved lead times, quality of care, patient safety, decreased costs as well as improved staff and patient satisfaction.”
The story behind the innovation
The idea of eliminating hemolysis in healthcare was born out of Dr. Mathias Karlssons frustrations. He is a physician from Sweden. It was while working with newborns that the physician and founder of Hemcheck witnessed the negative effects of hemolysis on the entire healthcare system. Mathias needed instant, accurate analytical responses to provide care for his patients. In the case of hemolytic blood samples, an important part of the ‘medical puzzle’ goes missing when the lab cannot give the results from the blood tests – and this part is often very important to determine the right treatment of patients. In 2010, this experience drove him to found Hemcheck together with Hjalmar Didrikson, Alfvén and Didrikson Invest.
Success story from Sweden
A study with Hemcheck has been conducted at the emergency department of the Capio Saint Görans hospital in Stockholm. The results of the study showed that with Hemcheck, the frequency of hemolyzed blood samples could be reduced by 54%. The results from the user survey showed, among other things, that 100% of the respondents were willing to continue using the product concept.
Tip about innovating healthcare
Last but not least, a valuable tip from Hemcheck for entrepreneurs on the healthcare market:
“For us, one of the key things has been to involve healthcare staff (different people with different experience and views) continuously in the development of the products. This is to ensure that you can solve what really matters in the daily work for the staff at an early stage. In our case, we have worked a lot on simplicity and speed of the analyses performed.”
This post may have given you some insights into how easily problems with hemolyzed blood samples can be resolved. If you would like more information about Hemcheck or if you are interested to try out Hemcheck at your organization, please do not hesitate to contact us at: Nadia@medscaler.com