How NorDx Laboratories includes PCS in focus on quality for over 20 years

What started as two local businesses supporting each other has grown into a valuable decade-spanning relationship based on the common goals of reliable patient test results.

INCREASED
QUALITY

>20 Years using Artel

NorDx has been using Artel technology to ensure pipette quality and compliance since the 1990s.

INCREASED
ORGANIZATION

100s of pipettes across 12 sites

NorDx values the PCS to ensure accurate calibration of pipettes for all twelve of their testing labs.

INCREASED
INSIGHT

Operator assessments

NorDx maintains consistency across all locations with PCS operator pipetting competency certification.

SITUATION

NorDx was the first licensed independent clinical testing lab in Maine.

Since that time, the not-for-profit organization has grown to be the largest regional patient testing lab in the state, handling thousands of patient samples each day.

CHALLENGE

Quality, accuracy, and efficiency have always been important to NorDx. As the company grew from a single hospital lab to twelve different sites, they had to overcome the challenge of ensuring consistency and comparability of test data and results across all locations.

In recent years, this challenge has been exacerbated by the national shortage of trained, certified medical technologists.

SOLUTION

NorDx ensures quality through yearly equipment assessments. These assessments identify instruments ready for retirement and explore new technologies, investing in ones that benefit quality and efficiency.

One technology that has been part of NorDx since 1997 is the PCS. With twelve testing sites, pipette performance and data comparability is essential for quality assurance. The newest model simplifies pipette inventory tracking as well as pipette operator competency assessments across all NorDx labs.

Two local businesses share a vision of quality and excellence to provide reliable patient results

NorDx originated from a merger between Maine Medical Center Department of Laboratory Medicine and Northern Diagnostics Reference Lab in 1997 and has proliferated to encompass twelve locations providing services to patients all over northern New England.

NorDx is the state’s first licensed independent clinical lab and the largest regional lab in Maine. As a member of MaineHealth, a recognized healthcare leader in New England and Maine’s largest integrated healthcare system, NorDx provides dependable, quality laboratory services to hospitals, physicians, long-term care providers, other laboratories and health care organizations throughout the region.  

Shylo Burrell
Medical Technologist at NorDx Scarborough

Smart technology investments help ensure quality in a growing clinical testing organization

An increase in size can be a sign of success, but also a challenge. For NorDx, growth has been a successfully navigated challenge since their establishment: an increasing patient load, new and more complex tests, a tight market for the highly qualified technicians that NorDx requires. One important component of that success is thoughtful investment in technologies that can reduce errors while maintaining and increasing efficiency.

“We maintain state-of-the-art instrumentation throughout the laboratory and with technology continually changing this requires acquisition of new equipment throughout the various laboratory disciplines.” —Sue-Ellen Tupper, Clinical Lab Manager at NorDx Scarborough

The new technologies NorDx brings into their labs include everything from the latest molecular diagnostics and immunoassay systems to six new chemistry analyzers with automated sample handlers that speed pre-analytical specimen processing.

One technology that has remained constant at NorDx for over twenty years is the Artel PCS. The PCS plays a critical role in NorDx’s focus on quality and data comparability by keeping pipetting performance standardized across all twelve sites through biannual and as-needed calibrations.

Sue-Ellen Tupper
Clinical Lab Manager at NorDx Scarborough

The PCS supports quality and data comparability across NorDx laboratory services network

The NorDx team recently upgraded to the newest PCS model to take advantage of the enhanced pipette inventory management features and new pipette operator competency assessment module.

Medical Laboratory Assistants at NorDx perform pipette calibrations for every pipette within the twelve location system. The new software has allowed for better tracking and scheduling which has improved the logistics in managing their vast pipette population. With hundreds of pipettes of different brands and volumes, quality assurance is critical. The PCS provides confidence that all pipettes perform equally, maintaining consistency in test results throughout the labs.

In a field burdened with hectic days and staffing challenges, worrying about pipette performance is not an option. NorDx expects accuracy and precision and the PCS provides necessary tools to meet these standards of excellence.

Sue-Ellen Tupper
Clinical Lab Manager at NorDx Scarborough

Creative solutions to the med tech shortage demonstrate NorDx’s strong commitment to quality

With a double-digit reduction of accredited training programs since 1990, a currently aging workforce of medical technologists and increasing number of assays available, pressure on the lab is high. Nationwide shortages of medical technologists has been crippling at times, forcing NorDx to get creative with lab staffing without sacrificing quality. Creation of the Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) training program four years ago has been very successful for NorDx and the surrounding community, generating a skilled labor pool and supporting job growth.

Pipette technique training with the new PCS operator competency assessment software module will become part of the CLT training program as well as pipetting competencies for current technologists to ensure operator performance, and the dependable, high quality of results for which NorDx is known.

“If people don’t realize the correct way to pipette, we won’t achieve the accuracy, precision and quality that is required.” —Sue-Ellen Tupper, Clinical Lab Manager at NorDx Scarborough

Erin Hobart
Clinical Lab Supervisor at NorDx Scarborough

Working together for the best patient care

Importance of pipetting technique is easily lost with advances in automation. Manual pipetting occurs less often but is just as critical now as it ever was.

As technology advances, patient sample volumes are becoming smaller and smaller, increasing the need for accuracy and precision. The Artel PCS has been with NorDx throughout their journey, ensuring quality results expected by MaineHealth’s patients. Patient care is the center of MaineHealth and NorDx culture.

Every drop is a patient. Every test and every outcome affects someone personally.

“It always comes back to patient care…we want to do what’s best for our patients and give the most accurate results that we can.” —Erin Hobart, Clinical Lab Supervisor at NorDx Scarborough

For the team at Artel, being part of NorDx’s commitment to quality is not just good for business, it’s personal, “For most of the people I know in Maine, myself included, our lab work goes to NorDx,” says Bernadette Danis, Marketing Manager at Artel, “and it’s great to see how much work they put into getting the right test results, down to the individual pipettes.”

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