Local startup Lab Improvements and Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) have obtained a $15,000 award from the MaRS Procurement by Co-Design program for their work over the last 6 months. The aim of the program is to create partnerships between tech innovators and healthcare service providers. As a result, Lab Improvements has developed the first-of-its-kind slide archiving system for the PRHC lab, with the solution expected to be installed by October, 2018.
The program, led by MaRS, presented $50,000 worth of grants to three health vendors out of 29 applications across Ontario, including local startup Lab Improvements. Along with the $15,000 grant, the project was also provided with $25,000 towards the development of the solution.
The program allowed Lab Improvements and PRHC to work together to study the efficiency problem in hospitals across Ontario to develop a solution. The end result is a benchtop device called the SlideTrack that will automate the filing of the more than 125,000 slides currently filed manually by PRHC staff each year.
“As a result of this program, we were able to develop a brand new solution with PRHC that not only works in this lab, but also will work for hospitals of all sizes across Ontario, Canada and even the world,” says Alex Bushell, CEO and co-founder of Lab Improvements.
Currently, it takes laboratory staff upwards of six hours each day to manually sort and file slides. With the help of this new device, the same task can be accomplished in only minutes, allowing them to focus on higher-yield activities. The ability to co-design a solution to maximize efficiencies for slide filing was a unique opportunity provided by this government program. The device is currently being commercialized by Lab Improvements and PRHC.
“The PRHC Laboratory will use this new slide filing system to help reduce the turnaround time to retrieve previously filed slides to complete a diagnosis,” says Bernard Schaan, Manager of the PRHC Laboratory. “This will allow our pathologists to deliver a diagnosis to the clinician and help design patient treatment in a more timely fashion, ultimately improving the care we provide for our patients.”
Lab Improvements is currently working with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to start delivering this solution to other hospitals in Ontario. As a way of thanking the Peterborough lab for their help in developing the device, Lab Improvements has committed to donating $2,000 from each future machine sale to be directed towards laboratory purchases for PRHC.
“Lab Improvements is an example of the types of advanced healthcare technology companies the Innovation Cluster supports,” notes Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “This will be their second benchtop device designed and built in Peterborough that significantly improves laboratory efficiency. It is exciting to see PRHC work on innovative solutions with local entrepreneurs.”