How Point of Care Technology Helps Alleviate the Medical Technologist Shortage

  • PixCell Medical
  • 19 Jul 2023

More than 4 billion medical tests are run in laboratories every year, and insufficient laboratory staffing has been a worsening issue for over a decade. Without a resolution to bolster the number of qualified medical technologists, there will be ramifications throughout the healthcare dynamic.

While technology can only supplement a person’s role, point-of-care technology can alleviate some challenges due to the ongoing shortage of medical technologists. The shortage disproportionately affects some settings, like primary care and rural regions, due to a lack of available labs, resources, and personnel.

The HemoScreen analyzer from PixCell Medical is an FDA-approved lab-quality analyzer designed for point-of-care use. It aims to reduce the over-stretched laboratory system and improve clinic operations one finger-prick at a time.

A Medical Technologist Shortage is a Healthcare Crisis

There is an estimated shortage of nearly 25,000 laboratory scientists in the workforce. With current vacancy rates as high as 10% in some areas of the US, there aren’t enough medical technologists to meet the demands of laboratories and health systems nationwide.

Fewer than 500 programs across the country produce only 5,000 medical technologists annually, less than half the estimated need for new graduates. There aren’t enough new technologists to replace those leaving the field, let alone catch up to the expected growth rate.

Quick fixes–like cross-training between departments, short-term contract hires, and on-the-job clinical training of non-clinical candidates–risk leaving our patients open to sub-standard care and laboratory errors.

Healthcare providers and patients rely on medical technologists to provide quick and accurate results to guide their decision-making. Delays or errors in laboratory processing will cause ripple effects, negatively impacting patient health, safety, quality of care, and satisfaction.

Technological Solutions for a People Problem

Technology and clinical testing are continuously evolving. New and complex diagnostic tests are constantly in development, creating a higher burden on laboratory resources. When you consider there is also a personnel shortage, delays, and errors are inevitable. In the end, patient care suffers in the current system.
HemoScreen from PixCell Medical is a transformative point-of-care laboratory device that fills in the gaps in the chain of care and provides a much-needed alternative for providers and their patients.

This innovative mobile platform provides rapid, accurate analysis for CBC, 5-part WBC differential, and leukocyte abnormalities in real-time from a single finger prick of blood. It features cutting-edge imaging and AI technology to analyze samples. The HemoScreen system revolutionizes traditional clinical workflows in primary care settings.

The design features easy-to-use cartridges–simply insert the sample into the cartridge to start analyzing. Reagents and frequent, time-consuming calibration are no longer required.
Some logistical steps, like sample storage, equipment calibration, shipment, and delivery, have been eliminated with the HemoScreen platform. Other efforts, like collection, labeling, and processing time, are more accessible and efficient.

Practitioners can free up valuable time for patients and hire less staff to manage the clinical and back-office workloads. Primary care practices are unlikely to have in-house labs and can further benefit from optimizing their processes and resources. It is even more critical in decentralized areas that may have difficulty finding and hiring enough qualified workers.

Bottlenecks in Clinical Workflows

Quality healthcare requires all cogs in the machine to be running smoothly, and even minor issues can cause a trickle-down effect that reaches the patient. Efficient clinical workflows can reduce delays in diagnosis and care. Quick, reliable technology can avoid errors and prevent irreparable patient harm.

The HemoScreen system is the solution for many logistical inefficiencies in clinical settings. Providers can perform complex blood tests in-office and quickly acquire essential information to make medical decisions before the patient’s appointment is over.

How can HemoScreen transform your practice and improve patient care?

  1. Provide Fast, Reliable Results
    HemoScreen provides lab-grade analysis at point-of-care. Providers can have the results of a 5-part WBC differential in about 5 minutes. This state-of-the-art mobile technology reduces the time involved in collecting, transporting, and analyzing samples. Valuable time is lost with traditional laboratory turnaround times as long as several days. With point-of-care analysis available, diagnosis and treatment can begin the same day as testing.
  2. Improve Scheduling Dynamics
    With rapid, reliable point-of-care technology, patients no longer need to schedule separate appointments or travel to a lab because everything is available on-site. Convenience and efficiency during appointments are critical factors affecting patient satisfaction and compliance with care.
  3. Reform Logistical Processes
    With HemoScreen, providers can spend less time handling samples and more time providing valuable one-on-one care. The process of properly collecting, labeling, and storing samples before shipment squanders valuable time and resources. Then providers must wait for results to return–sometimes as long as several days–before making any clinical decisions. Every step of the traditional process uses valuable time and resources of providers and their staff. HemoScreen technology eliminates or redesigns multiple steps between sample collection and receiving results.

Challenges of Using Point-of-Care Testing

No matter how advanced, technology can never replace experienced, knowledgeable healthcare providers. Although HemoScreen is simple to use, time and resources are required to train staff on the HemoScreen platform properly. In the US, the FDA defines the qualifications for using CLIA moderate complexity devices.

Another potential challenge is in the initial expenditure required to purchase a POC device. Some practices, especially those in decentralized areas, may struggle with this upfront financial hurdle. However, point-of-care devices can reduce the overall testing costs compared to traditional laboratory testing over time.

Generally speaking, clinics will see the most savings in reduced inventory and labor costs. Devices like HemoScreen can also apply to more specific use cases, such as starting psychiatric patients on clozapine, which has been associated with significant reductions in healthcare provider costs.

Finally, regulatory agencies provide much-needed protections for patients and consumers. However, a side effect of regulatory processes is the slowing of technological advancement. With novel diagnostics always in development, most complex analytics are limited to traditional laboratory procedures. Currently, HemoScreen is the only total CBC and 5-part WBC differential analysis device approved by the FDA for point-of-care use.

Overcome a Healthcare Crisis with HemoScreen

Patients deserve the highest quality medical care available, and providers deserve access to resources to run their practices efficiently. HemoScreen provides lab-grade analysis of nearly two dozen parameters in less time than it takes to collect, label, and ship blood samples using traditional laboratory methods.

Launch your practice to the forefront of medical technology and change the lives of your patients. Contact us and request a live demo today!


(*) Please note: training must be defined by local, state and federal regulations. In the USA, training is defined for CLIA moderate complexity devices.