Another factor that drives growth of the hematology testing market is the enhanced capabilities of the analyzers, such as expanded range of reported parameters and functionality to test other body fluids than whole blood.
Since the very first automated hematology analyzers were launched in the 1950s, the majority of all blood cell counts is still based on electrical impedance technology. In the 1980s, this technology was supplemented with optical flow cytometry to allow differentiation of the white blood cells (WBCs) into their five sub-groups (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils) in an automated manner.
One could argue that little has happened on the technology side over the years, but the development of the automated cell counters has focused on aspects such as sample aspiration and dilution, cell count method and principle, and cell discrimination method to improve the measurement quality of available devices.
Although early trials were made to use image analysis for the WBC differential count, these analyzers were expensive and thus not widely adopted in routine clinical use (4). Today, cost-efficient analyzers that use optical microscopy and AI-based digital imaging to automate the microscopic examination of blood smears are available to investigate the presence of pathological cell morphologies that can be difficult for an automated hematology analyzer to distinguish from normal cells.
Connectivity is key for data transfer between the site for diagnostic testing at the point of care and site for decision making by centralized medical expertise. With healthcare organizations constructing data-management infrastructure, decentralized diagnostic testing has become an attractive alternative to traditional laboratory testing at a central testing service facility.
“Since we decided to partner with Boule for the distribution of Medonic systems in our country a little over five years ago, we have managed to capture an important portion of the market, especially in the north, where practically all the regional health centers (primary care) are equipped with our instruments”, says Yodely Tavares, Managing Director at Cruz Ayala, Dominican Republic. “Cruz Ayala, together with Boule Diagnostics, is recognized in Dominican Republic for offering the best value for money.”
“Once our clients manage to overcome the initial doubt of instrument quality and reliability in the results, they usually double their number of daily samples”, Maximo Cruz Ayala, CEO Cruz Ayala continues. “Also, the complexity of the patients who come for their services increase. Consequently, they will look for analyzers that allow them to handle these new conditions (sample volume and complexity) in an efficient way. We therefore foresee and increased interest in 5-part instruments with autoloader in the upcoming three to five years. As many testing services compete for business, they are also looking to add reticulocyte count as a competitive advantage of their laboratory.”
“The possibility of remote communication with lab instrumentation is today a widespread idea that many manufacturers are trying to turn into reality”, says Maximo. “The ability for our service engineers to remotely diagnose possible instrument issues can take us to the next level in terms of after sales support. Knowing the cause of the problem, correcting it remotely and, where appropriate, visiting our clients and bring the correct necessary spare part is the immediate future.”
Maximo Cruz Ayala, CEO Cruz Ayala, the distributor of Medonic systems in the Dominican Republic.