At the start of July X-Lab, the company behind NPEx, took on seven new members of staff to accommodate the growing demand for its products and solutions. The new cohort, Miles and Dom, Deployment and Support Technicians; Della, Xander and Martin, Deployment and Support Interns; Toby, a Graphic Designer; and Rose, Junior PR and Communications Officer, all finished their first month with a tour of Leeds General Infirmary’s Institute of Pathology.

It was important for the new members of staff to see a working lab as it gave them a practical understanding of the importance of NPEx. In seeing the processing, logging and testing of samples they were better able to comprehend how much NPEx improves efficiency in time, cost and error reduction. Led by Bruce Pickering, a biomedical scientist and practicing pathologist, they were shown around labs testing in haematology, biochemistry, microbiology and histopathology. Their main lab demonstrated the intake and testing of up to 15,000 samples per day using an automated, barcode-scanning conveyor belt technology that ensured they were delivered to the correct testing equipment and biomedical scientist. NPEx further speeds up this process by digitalising the input and transfer of results ensuring that patients can be treated in the fastest time possible.

The tour’s most popular element was seeing microbiological testing using WASPLab™ technology. By scanning sample barcodes and subsequently choosing the correct plate type, swabbing it with the sample in a pattern, placing it on a conveyor belt and taking photographs before and after incubation the technology allowed for wholly digital tracking and testing. Seeing disciplines, like microbiology and histopathology, that produce complex profiles in their results, was important as it enabled the new starters to envision the direction in which NPEx is going and how the product can be developed to accommodate wider lab-to-lab testing with increased capacity.

The tour finished with the chance to look at sample haematology slides through a microscope and see the different components of blood and its abnormalities. In seeing the broad range of pathological disciplines that used methods of testing from automated technology to manual examination using the human eye gave a real insight into the complexity and imperativeness of the work NPEx serves.

Hayley Milsom, Business Analyst at X-Lab said: ‘It’s really important for new starters to have the opportunity to look around a pathology lab and see how things really work. For new staff to truly understand what NPEx is working towards achieving across the UK’s NHS its vital that they see the challenges labs are facing first hand. Seeing the process from when the samples arrive into the lab, all the way through to when the results are sent back to Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), is a great way to learn and understand more about where NPEx fits in.’

We would like to thank Bruce and all the staff at the LGI who took the time out of their day to give us an insightful and interesting tour of the integral diagnostic work they perform on a day-to-day basis.