Heidelberg University Hospital Installs Total Lab Automation System

When a centuries-old institute of higher learning and a company pushing the boundaries of diagnostics join together for the purpose of redefining the tools for microbiological diagnostics, the result is advancing the world of health.

Inauguration of Laboratory
Inauguration of Laboratory (from left): Silvia Hardenbol, Business Director Central Europe, BD Life Sciences - Diagnostic Systems; Patrick R. Murray, PhD, Sr. Director, Worldwide Scientific Affairs, BD Life Science - Diagnostic Systems; Irmtraut Gürkan, Business Director, University Hospital Heidelberg; Prof. Dr. Klaus Heeg, Medical Director, Department of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene; Prof. Guido Adler, Chief Medical Director and Chairman of the Board.

In cooperation with BD in Germany, the Heidelberg University Hospital has acquired a BD Kiestra™ Total Lab Automation (TLA) System for its microbiology laboratory. The BD Kiestra™ system presented an opportunity for both BD as well as the Heidelberg University Hospital to present themselves as innovative partners in a venture to decrease infections in hospitals by detecting and analyzing microbes faster and thus starting the appropriate therapy in a timelier manner. This is not only in the interest of the patients—it reduces hospital stay and the strain infections can put on them—it also reduces the costs of infections for the entire healthcare system.

Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene

The opening of the BD Kiestra TLA System also started another initiative for BD and the Heidelberg University Hospital: a study which will investigate how automation can contribute to preventing the spread of microbes at the hospital and improving ways to deal with resistance to antibiotics. Both are core challenges facing medical facilities in Germany.

Dr Klaus Heeg, Medical Director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, addressed the current state of infections in hospitals and antibiotic resistance in Germany. "If we can shorten the time frame of recognizing an infection and the exact germ that caused it, we can start the appropriate treatment earlier. We can also isolate infected patients sooner to reduce the risk of infecting others and remove them from isolation when cleared. We know from studies that starting the appropriate treatment after a timely diagnosis can reduce both severity and duration of an infection as well as the healing time per patient. Those are the goals we are working towards in the next couple of years."

Heidelberg University Hospital

Irmtraut Gürkan, Commercial Director of Heidelberg University Hospital, said, "If a diagnosis isn't clear, the patient has to be placed into isolation, which puts a strain on the operations of the ward and places restrictions on capacities. Fast diagnosis is therefore economical. Without automation, the enormous increase in demands on laboratories could otherwise only be managed by increased staffing resources."