RT interviewed Lynda Koestner of Roche Diagnostics Corp about the essential diagnostic equipment needed to treat respiratory problems.

Diagnostic equipment is essential when treating respiratory problems. RT spoke with Lynda Koester, marketing manager, at Roche Diagnostics Corp, Indianapolis, about how the company has spent more than a quarter century satisfying this need by providing products and services around the world.

What sets Roche Diagnostics apart from other manufacturers of blood gas analyzers?

The Roche Group is a research-based health care company with principal business activities in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and vitamins. Through the company’s diagnostics division, innovative testing products and services are made available to physicians, patients, hospitals, and laboratories worldwide. Roche Diagnostics Corp is the North American headquarters for the diagnostics division of the company.

In 2000, Roche Diagnostics, the market leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, acquired the Medical Division of AVL, a supplier of blood gas/electrolyte analyzers. This acquisition allowed respiratory therapists to benefit from the knowledge, experience, and leadership that central laboratory customers have relied on from Roche. For more than 25 years, laboratories have counted on us for service and support. Our experience in blood glucose testing with the Accu-Chek monitors has led the way for point-of-care and decentralized testing.

Roche recognizes that blood gas testing requires a system that has features that are required to perform in multiple environments. With both the OMNI and OPTI product lines, we offer a variety of analyzers that can be configured for the testing volume, operation, and changing menu needs in critical care. In addition to flexibility, streamlined data management enhances the performance of any testing program. Roche offers open, multi-analyte information technology systems that improve compliance and productivity.

What do you foresee for the future of blood gas testing?

We expect to see more analyzers used in critical care areas such as intensive care units, operating rooms, laboratories, and emergency departments. To accomplish this, the analyzers will be easier to use, have minimal or no maintenance, and will incorporate features to support regulatory requirements. Because of the need for faster results and efficiency, these analyzers will need to provide all critical care tests in addition to blood gas testing. Savings in staff and turnaround time will be achieved when multiple tests such as coagulation, cardiac markers, electrolytes, kidney function, and glucose can be obtained quickly from the same analyzer.

What can we expect from Roche in the coming months?

Roche is committed to further developing its blood gas line of products. We recently launched the Roche OMNI™ C Analyzer. This system provides a full critical care menu, automatic quality control, and a consolidated reagent system that is priced for economical operation. Additional analytes and features are being incorporated in the Roche DataCare system for data management and will be released soon. We are also planning to launch a new line of blood gas analyzers in early 2003. Roche recognizes the changing needs of our customers and is investing in innovations to continue providing state-of-the-art systems.