Coronavirus test sampling and analytics
Our extensive network of coronavirus test sampling points consisted of locations managed by ourselves and locations managed by subcontractors in Uusimaa and Kymenlaakso. There were nearly 50 sampling points in all. Appointments could be booked by self-service using the Coronabot or the Omaolo online platform.
In addition to testing at sampling points, we ran mass tests on construction sites and at educational institutions. Our sampling staff also participated in health safety measures at border crossings points at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Helsinki ports, Vaalimaa and Nuijamaa.
The digital FINENTRY service was in use to guide coronavirus testing for persons entering Finland, and the nationwide sampling network established by the HUS Diagnostic Center through competitive tendering handled the actual testing. This network had about 20 testing locations.
We put the rental capacity for coronavirus analytics to tender in spring 2021, acquiring more capacity at a lower cost. In 2021, we saw the emergence of new coronavirus variants, and we have been monitoring their incidence through sample sequencing in close cooperation with the University of Helsinki. We have been performing coronavirus sample sequencing by random sampling ever since the start of the pandemic, even though it causes a lot of extra work. The PCR method that identifies S gene deletion, which we leased for population tests, has proved useful in rapid identification of certain coronavirus variants such as beta and omicron.
Digipathology project to streamline the service chain
The digipathology project is simply about converting traditional pathology specimen slides into digital form with a slide scanner, allowing the specimens to be viewed on a computer screen instead of under a microscope.
“Digitizing specimen slides makes it quicker to examine the specimen, besides allowing for more accurate measurements and determinations. It is also easier to demonstrate the findings at clinical-pathological meetings, for instance,” says Chief Physician Taneli Tani from the pathology laboratory at Hyvinkää Hospital.
Pathologists can consult one another independently of time and place in the digital realm, without having to transport physical specimens from one facility to another. With digitized specimens, a clinical-pathological meeting can be called within a fraction of the time previously used just to compile the specimen slides.
The HUS Diagnostic Center is gradually progressing towards a fully digital pathology process. In 2021, we integrated slide scanning into the patient information and image management systems. We also installed slide scanners at Hyvinkää and Kotka, with a combined capacity of more than 100,000 slides per year.
“We will be adding to scanner capacity with devices at Meilahti and Jorvi in 2022, at which point we will be able to digitize 100% of tissue specimen slides. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a uniform process for all pathology laboratories of the Diagnostic Center,” says Chief Physician Tuomas Mirtti from the pathology laboratory at Meilahti.