While studying how Ortho customers use our products, a team made up of Ortho R&D employees visiting labs around the world recognized a pattern: staffing shortages and more generalists in the lab than before, constant time pressure, and often cramped quarters with reagents, manuals and other items piled high on every available surface.
Although no single factor alone inspires the design of Ortho analyzers, assays and other in vitro diagnostics products, there is a source of inspiration that may be the most significant of all: our customers.
Watch: Ortho's Nadav Kaufman discuss improving lab performance
That’s why having a team of experts studying labs and thinking of ways to simplify and perfect the experience of using the analyzers every day was integral to the development of the new VITROS XT Solutions, Ortho’s multifaceted clinical lab solution launched globally as a unified solution in 2020.
This inspired our designers to develop systems that:
- Make it easier to use for everyone in the lab, whether or not they specialize in clinical chemistry.
- Enhance efficiency by delivering reliable, reportable results on the first pass more often than the competition.
- Incorporate design elements intended to conserve valuable space in labs.
“By watching customers rather than drilling them with questions, we really can get a sense of where there are inefficiencies in their lab and design around them,” said Katherine Lucarelli, a former Ortho senior user experience designer who helped gather our insights.
For example, seeing at least one lab that manually taped instructions to the insides of its analyzers helped drive Ortho’s addition of clear, color-coded labeling of components inside the new VITROS XT 3400 Chemistry System and VITROS XT 7600 Integrated System to guide and simplify processes such as maintenance and loading of reagents. That not only makes the analyzers less intimidating to lab generalists who might touch them infrequently, but it can save valuable time that might have been spent consulting manuals or colleagues for help.
Watch: Ortho's Nadav Kaufman talk about meeting customer needs
The efforts with customers went beyond direct observation within the labs. For instance, by examining customer data, Ortho determined which lab tests frequently get ordered together and therefore should be paired on VITROS XT MicroSlides—which are capable of running two tests on the same slide simultaneously—meaning customers get twice the results on the same-sized slide. Double assay processing offers a 25 percent faster turnaround time1 than other industry options on a common panel of assays and requires less sample to be used.2
Even as the VITROS XT Solutions boosted performance over their predecessors by adding MicroSlide pairs—and also a digital imaging system that can boost the analytical precision of results—the analyzers themselves still occupy a similar footprint to Ortho’s previous generation. Ortho was able to hold the line on analyzer footprint which was already smaller and provided more throughput per square foot than competitive analyzers.
And remember the manuals and reagents Ortho’s experts saw piled up on analyzers? Ortho also saved storage space by designing shelving and more flat surfaces into the VITROS XT 3400 Chemistry System.
Of course, labs especially care about performance and reliability, so Ortho’s VITROS XT 7600 Integrated System offers industry highest first-pass yield (96.5 percent).3 And the XT Solutions provide 98 percent system uptime,4 backed by OrthoCare™, the industry’s No. 1 service and support unit as ranked four years in a row by IMV ServiceTrak.
“Customer excellence begins with understanding our customers and their needs throughout their journey with Ortho,” said Zac Ballard, Ortho’s head of regions—LATAM, Japan and ASPAC—and Ortho Care™. “We have great examples of understanding our customers and delivering differentiated solutions, and we see multiple awards for how we care for customers in the field.”
1. CAP Today, Chemistry and immunoassay analyzers for mid- and high-volume laboratories, July 2018.
2. CAP Today, Chemistry and immunoassay analyzers for mid- and high-volume laboratories, July 2018. Turnaround time to complete the panel of these tests: Glucose, Calcium, Albumin, Total Protein, Sodium, Potassium, CO2, Chloride, BUN, Creatinine, ALP, ALT, AST, Bilirubin.
3. An internal Ortho study validated by a third party established that the VITROS 5600 Integrated System had an industry-leading 96.5 percent first-pass yield. Subsequent Ortho comparison studies established that the VITROS XT 7600 Integrated System met or exceeded that standard.
4. This is a contractual promise Ortho makes in the United States and Canada.