Thanks to the human touch of Sakura’s implementation professionals, the pathologists of Centre Hospitalier Avignon have been able to reap numerous benefits from their newly introduced SMART Automation solutions. In the age of constant technological developments and advances in pathology, the importance of the human approach to implementing new technology is often overlooked, despite its potential to bring about outstanding results – as was the case with the Avignon lab. With Sakura Bridge, our Implementation Consultancy service, we aim to bring back the connection between pathology professionals and their instruments to empower optimal diagnoses. 

Approaching the lab

Going into the implementation process, the team of 18 pathology professionals at the Avignon lab was motivated to access better management of increasing workload, reallocate technicians’ time, and optimise the lab’s grossing, embedding, and microtomy workflow. Once the demands of the team were noted, the Implementation Consultants at Sakura set out to achieve these goals through the implementation of the Tissue-Tek AutoTEC® a120. The lab also needed support in its constant struggle to find trained technicians. Staff faced frequent schedule gaps due to sickness and holidays, resulting in long working days and backlogs.

The first step towards bridging the gap between the team’s expectations and their current situation was a Change Management approach. This factor of the Sakura Bridge framework involves a thorough change analysis that narrows down the scope of action and serves as a foundation for further communication plans, training, and reinforcement strategies; therefore, the focus of this stage lies entirely on the people in the lab, as they are crucial for the success of the adoption of new technology. In this stage, ongoing communication between Sakura and pathologists is essential, as Virginie Adge, Lab Manager, stresses: 

"The partnership between the technical team and the Sakura team in this Bridge implementation has been crucial to the success of this project."

Yielding first results

The second Bridge factor vital for this development is Project Management. In this stage, Sakura’s Implementation Consultants devise a set of project goals, based on which a project roadmap is drawn up – thanks to this, the employees at the Avignon lab can manage their expectations and are aligned with the actions of Sakura Bridge experts. 

With the stage set, it is time to get on with the third element of Sakura Bridge - Workflow Optimisation
A 0-measurement, which identifies all the relevant bottlenecks within the lab, gives way to multiple workflow improvements and creates optimal conditions for the integration of the a120. The result of this approach is apparent: the technical and medical staff of the lab were relocated for more educated tasks for up to 36 days a year, and the number of workstations went down from 4 to 3

For the pathologists of Centre Hospitalier Avignon, these adjustments brought about improved quality of slides with fewer slides required for diagnosis, as well as the faster arrival of trays.  As for the technical staff in the lab, they can now benefit from additional time received from re-allocating tasks, allowing them to focus on tasks like facilitating IHC inventory management, documenting techniques, training new staff, managing projects, and following more trainings.

All of the above has contributed to the lab’s new record for embedding, enabling them to reach a remarkable 95% embedding rate across all of their work with Sakura’s Tissue-Tek AutoTEC a120.

Ensuring sustainability

However impressive the results, they would be superficial without ensuring long-term sustainability – this is precisely what the fourth stage of Sakura Bridge, Education & Training, sets out to tackle. Guided by a Sakura Application Specialist, the staff of Centre Hospitalier Avignon participate in a number of user training sessions and workshops, following a customised training plan, to ensure that the solutions can be utilised to their full potential after the implementation. 

To maintain the results of workflow optimisation, Technical Support, the final element of Bridge, is essential. Applied throughout the whole project, this element contributes to ensuring the seamless introduction of SMART Automation to the lab via a technical pre-visit to the lab, where Sakura’s certified engineers carry out a thorough analysis of the technical environment in the lab. 

Having gone through the workflow transformation with the support of Sakura Bridge, the pathology staff of Centre Hospitalier Avignon feel confident about the future of their lab

Thanks to the extensive training and ongoing communication with Sakura Bridge Implementation Consultants, we believe we will be able to maintain the level of efficiency we have managed to achieve.

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