Hemolysis – Time for innovation?

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Getting the right diagnosis as fast as possible is essential for providing optimal care. Nowadays, over 70% of all clinical decisions are based on diagnostic results. This highlights the importance of rapid and accurate medical diagnostics. The diagnostic process consists of multiple steps. It usually starts with the collection of body materials, such as blood. After, the collection the samples will be transported to the laboratory where they will be analyzed. The last step is the interpretation of the results in consultation with the patient. The phase from the time of collection to the analysis in the laboratory, is called pre-analysis and is a crucial stage in the diagnostic chain. Errors in the pre-analytical phase can lead to unreliable test results or unusable blood samples. This will result in delay of the care process and thus in higher costs.

Small errors with major impact

Diagnostics in the Netherlands is of high quality. However, hospitals and laboratories are continuously investing in further process optimization and reduction in errors. The main focus of these investments is on pre-analysis, in which about 75% of all diagnostic errors originate. The most common diagnostic error is hemolysis , the rupture of erythrocytes (red blood cells). Only 2% of all hemolytic blood samples involve in vivo hemolysis, the rupture of erythrocytes within the body’s bloodstream. The remaining 98% are in vitro hemolysis. In this case, the blood sample has become hemolytic outside of the body, for example through incorrect handling during blood collection or during transport. The Rotterdam-based healthcare innovation company MedScaler conducted research on an innovative point-of-care test that quickly and effectively detects hemolytic blood samples. The research shows that hemolysis is a recognized problem for multiple Dutch hospitals. According to Robin Toorneman, Operations Director at MedScaler “several clinical chemists and emergency room nurses have indicated that hemolytic blood samples are still a challenge.”

Innovative solution

The Swedish startup, Hemcheck, developed an innovative point-of-care test, called “Helge”. By using this compact, user-friendly medical device, blood samples can be checked for hemolysis immediately after blood collection. Helge is based on a single-use test with a unique filtration technology. The photometric reader in the device can detect whether a blood sample is hemolyzed from as little as 0.1 ml of blood. Joen Averstad, CEO of Hemcheck: “Helge’s patented technology enables nurses to determine hemolysis in just 10 seconds.” In Sweden, Helge is successful and being used in the emergency room (ED). “During our pilot at Capio St Görans Hospital in Stockholm, the number of hemolytic blood samples was reduced by 54% ,” says Averstad. Also in the Netherlands, Helge is likely to be relevant for the emergency departments.

The Netherlands

Healthcare innovation platform MedScaler is guiding the market introduction of Hemcheck in the Netherlands. Toorneman: “Helge is user-friendly and intuitive to use. Because of its handy size, there is room for it in every department”. Other applications of Helge are also conceivable. “A number of clinical chemists we have spoken to indicate that they would like to use Helge for education and training purposes,” says Toorneman. MedScaler is currently in contact with several Dutch hospitals about shaping a pilot with Hemcheck.

Are you curious what Hemcheck can do for your organization or would you like to receive more information? Please contact MedScaler at or (+31) 0 85 1300 820.

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