Stand-alone clinical sites (eg, infusion centers) are becoming increasingly common. These sites require timely hematology analysis. Here we compare performance and costs of currently available analysis configurations with special focus on a proposed alternative using a minimal hematology analyzer plus a digital imaging device, allowing for remote oversight and interpretation.
To determine whether low-volume laboratories might realize savings while gaining function by substituting commonly used configurations with a proposed alternative.
To evaluate the performance of the proposed alternative configuration, blood counts with automated differentials produced by a Sysmex XE5000 (complete blood count reference method) were compared with cell counts from the Sysmex pocH-100i, CellaVision DM96 preclassified differentials, and DM96 reclassified differentials (differential reference method) by using standard regression analyses, 95% CIs, and truth tables. Financial cost modeling used staffing practices, test volumes, and smear production rates observed at remote clinics performing on-site hematology analysis within the University of California at San Diego Health system.
Differential blood count parameters showed excellent correlation between the XE5000 and preclassification DM96 with > 0.95. For blasts/abnormal cells, immature granulocytes, and nucleated red blood cells, the DM96 showed higher sensitivity and similar specificity to the XE5000. Cost modeling revealed that decreased personnel costs through remote monitoring of results facilitated by the DM96 would lead to lower operational costs relative to more conventional analysis configurations.
A digital imaging instrument with an inexpensive hematology analyzer provides similar information to a complex hematology analyzer and allows remote review of the blood smear findings by experts, leading to significant cost savings.