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RWJUH Improves Clinical Laboratory

Redesigned Work Space, Acquisition of Industry-leading Chemistry Automation Among Improvements

January 23, 2012

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories has significantly improved testing efficiency and capacity with the acquisition of chemistry automation equipment and a redesign of the hospital’s core lab.
“This is just another step in our commitment to continuously improve our quality of patient care, while providing our medical staff the tools they need,” said Stephen K. Jones, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson Health System.
The department has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the past two years as testing volumes have increased by 10 percent, or 200,000 more billable tests.
In addition, the Laboratories team has pursued an aggressive outreach program to build and expand testing services beyond what it provides daily on RWJUH’s academic medical campus.  That additional outpatient work now represents approximately 38 percent of RWJUH’s total test volume.
With increased demand, lab improvements were needed to maintain RWJUH’s goal of producing prompt and accurate test results.
To handle the increased testing volume and future growth, RWJUH acquired the Roche Cobas 6000 Analyzer Series.  “Full installation was achieved in only two months, a new industry standard for Roche automation, thanks to exceptional planning and coordination between RWJUH Laboratory staff and Roche’s installation team,” said Charles Wilson, Laboratory Administrative Director for RWJUH.
The analyzer has a testing menu that covers the majority of the laboratory’s routine and complex blood tests ordered by physicians.  “This highly compact system consolidates more than 95% of routine testing, therefore requiring fewer analyzers, which enhances lab staff efficiency,” explained Wilson.
In support of the new automation, the hospital completed major renovations in its core laboratory.  Nearly 90 percent of all chemistry and immunoassay testing (a chemical test that measures the presence or concentration of a specific substance) is now consolidated onto the Roche line. That freed up space and capacity for growth of highly complex testing such as Molecular Diagnostics, Flow Cytometry and Cytogenetics.
With the analytics firmly established, the laboratory embarked upon a six-week Lean Process Improvement initiative with the hospital’s nursing team to address long-standing pre- and post-analytic variables and eliminate barriers that inhibit maximum efficiency.
“This project is about much more than having a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility,” said Patricia Palmieri, Vice President, Operations, at RWJUH.  “Ultimately this project is about giving our staff the ability to better meet the needs of our clinicians, who are performing amazing feats every day at our academic medical center.  By serving our clinicians better, we serve our patients better.”
Reporters interested in learning more about the improvements may contact Peter Haigney or Zenaida Mendez, with RWJUH’s Public Relations Department, at (732) 937-8521.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ.  Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ( 

As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the first Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties.  The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report three times. In addition, RWJUH was named among the best places to work in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine and received the Equity Care of Award as Top Hospital for Healthcare Diversity and Inclusion from the American Hospital Association.

Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence and “Most Wired” designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.

The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center.  The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.