Clinical chemistry analyzers are machines used to test multiple types of samples, such as blood serum, urine, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid. Different analyzers have a range of testing possibilities, so it is important to know the needs of your clinic when selecting the right one for you.
Assays Being Tested
First it is important to know what assays, or samples, will need to be tested in your clinic. Progressing technology makes it possible to test more and more types of assays with a single analyzers. Current analyzers can test for anemia, diabetes, cardiac markers, drugs, metabolic functions, and hepatic functions. Depending on your clinic's needs, some functions may not be necessary, so research into the model you are considering will be important.
Throughput Capabilities Needed
While large clinics or laboratories have a need for a high throughput of tests per hour, smaller clinics may be able to use point-of-care analysis units, or other small on-site analyzers. Many hospitals opt to use hand-held or lightweight analyzers for testing such things as blood gases, electrolytes, and lactate, as well as coagulation and hematology. This can be a good option, using single-use cartridges to analyze assays right away, rather than sending them off to a lab.
Types Of Analysis
For larger analyzers, there are two test methods that are the most common. Photometry mixes the sample with a reagent to produce a certain color output. This shows the light absorbed by the sample to determine the concentration of the aspect you are analyzing for. The second testing method is ion selective electrode measurement, or ISE. This measures for different electrodes in your assay. One or both of these methods can be available, depending on the analyzer you select, so knowing the analysis needs of your clinic will be essential in selecting which is right for you.
You will next need to consider how much automation is necessary for your clinic. If you have a high volume of tests to process and speed is key, a higher level of automation will be right for you. Higher-end analyzers generally offer more automation. If the needs of your clinic are lower-volume, then it may be worth it to save the money and involve a bit more employee operation.
Lastly, consider the projected growth of your clinic. While you may not currently require a high-throughput, multiple-assay analyzer, this could be necessary in the future. Not only will the number of your patients dictate this need, but also increasing technology which makes multiple tests more accessible.