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Mass spectrometry is considered a gold standard in the field of analytical biochemistry. Its deployment in clinical laboratories, however, is relatively recent. The Hormone Laboratory at Haukeland University Hospital utilises mass spectrometry for the precise measurement of hormones in blood, urine and saliva, using in-house developed methods. Mass spectrometry is an expensive and complex technology that generates large amounts of data.
There are also various of different instrument types and models from various manufacturers, each with their own proprietary software. The high complexity and diversity of instruments and softwares represents a huge challenge for the integration of mass spectrometry in the clinical analytical process, which in itself is complex and subject to comprehensive quality requirements and compulsory documentation.
SpecBase has been developed at the Hormone Laboratory in a close collaboration between method developers, clinical laboratory staff and programmers of the Hospital's IT department. It is the first software that holistically integrates mass spectrometry into the clinical analytical process. This software is designed to accumulate data from all sub-processes, from sample reception, through sample workup and the final analytical result, independent of the type, model and manufacturer of the instruments used.
All data for each sample are automatically processed according to inbuilt algorithms and clinical quality control rules. The data are stored in a searchable database, which can provide an instantaneous real-time overview over the entire process chain and instrument park, including instrument status and performance, quality controls, calibrators and reagents. SpecBase provides a profoundly improved quality assurance and control, as well as an improved efficiency of the entire analytical process. Other mass spectrometry laboratories may benefit by using SpecBase to optimise and quality assure their process.
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A holistic integration of mass spectrometry into the clinical analytical process to increase safety, quality and time-efficiency, independent of instrument type, model and manufacturer.
- Detailed documentation and tracing through the entire process chain
- Automated analytical quality control and quality assurance
- Linkage of each analytical result with instrument parameters, corresponding lots of reagents, quality controls, calibrators and instrument operators.
- Increased patient safety through increased quality and reduced turn-around time
- Reduced error sources due to a reduction in manual data management
- Increased process efficiency
- Real-time overview over entire instrument park
- Early discovery of instrumental problems and easier trouble-shooting
- More efficient instrument maintenance routines
- Reduced instrument down-time
- More efficient training of new instrument operators
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Project leader: Bjørg Almås, Head of R&D, Hormone Laboratory
Inventor: Ralf Kellmann, research scientistforsker/developer, Hormone Laboratory
SpecBase is an innovation project at the Haukeland University Hospital. It has been implemented at the Hormone Laboratory since 2012, and has thus become part of the standard service by the hospital.
The SpecBase project has received Helse-Vest innovation funding between 2014 and 2017. From 2018 the project is jointly funded by the Laboratory Clinic and the division for e-health. In 2020 the Research Council of Norway granted Milestone Project funding for the development of SpecBase as an innovation product.