We have now had the Kiestra TLA up and running for a week in our laboratory. As you can expect, the learning curve is steep and the sorting out of “teething problems” is a daily process at present.
Nevertheless one can undoubtedly see the potential, both in the short and long term.
One aspect of the system amongst many that I particularly like is the digital images of the agar plates.
These are advantageous for the following reasons:
- Enhanced signout process: Whilst authorising a result one can not only check the request form, but also digital images of the agar plates, with all the attached audit trails.
- Long term storage of plate images: Real agar plates dry up and need to be thrown away after a week or so. Digital images can be stored for as long as you need them.
- Remote work-up: Theoretically both plate reading and review could occur outwith the laboratory. We have not attempted this yet but the potential is certainly there and I am sure will be utilised eventually. Plates on the “smart incubators” that become ready for reading in the middle of the night could be read immediately by dayshift people in a partner laboratory on the other side of the world!
It would be nice to have digital imaging of the Gram stains also and I am sure this will come in the near future.
Once you have become a digital microbiologist, I suspect it would be very difficult to go back to the way things were done before…