Upgrading the OPTI Blood Gas Analysers at Cambridge University Hospitals

12 March 2019

The Point of Care Testing Team at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have recently replaced three portable blood gas analysers with three new Opti TS2 devices supplied by Una Health. These devices are used routinely by the Acute Respiratory Team at CUH who are a dedicated group of specialist nursing staff providing  much needed support to any patient diagnosed with ‘COPD’. Whilst predominantly used for domiciliary visits, the devices are used occasionally within the in-patient and clinic settings as they offer the portability needed for the team to be responsive to patient needs and varying location. The durable carry case also adds to the portability and provides some space for additional consumables such as vasodilator cream and gauze to be transported.

The devices offer the flexibility of varying the sample type according to clinical requirements so although most of the patients tested will have a capillary sample collected from a lancet puncture to the ear lobe, occasionally the nursing team will need to collect an arterial blood gas sample for analysis. When the samples are analysed the colour screen with visual and audible beeps provide prompts to the users as a useful guide every step of the way.

The room temperature storage of the consumables means there are no cold items that have to warm up before use, saving some time for the nursing staff when using the device. The calibration gas is small and easily changed by them when needed, without the need for technical support and the canister can also be recycled along with most of the consumable packaging as an added bonus.

The Point of Care Testing Team have found the devices straightforward to set up, offering the variety of user profiles and permissions a modern POCT service expects of a device to help to control the use of the devices by the send users and protect the settings from accidental changes.

There is also flexibility in the settings to set the number, levels required and time period between quality control analyses. The QC lock out feature is a welcome feature which complements the SRC lock out, meaning POCT has the reassurance that the device will be fit for use and the importance of quality cannot be bypassed, added to which operator management helps reduce risk of untrained operatives using  the device and helps serve as a reminder to refresh competency when their access expires. We use staff badge barcodes to identify the users meaning logging in is easy as the integrated barcode scanner reads many different barcode types meaning it is likely to cater for most sites.

There has been a long standing relationship with CUH POCT and Una Health which meant Una Health were sympathetic to our service needs and provided a number of  purchasing and service options available meaning  we had security in the knowledge that we could find a support package that suited us as a service and site. The support from Una Health has been excellent and they provide a friendly comprehensive service.

Our scheduled delivery means we are able to ensure regular deliveries are made to site without having to place small orders in frequently, meaning the service we provide to the end users is more resilient.  The device training provided was sufficient for our needs and tailored to our site, having been OPTI users before we welcomed the updated instruments and the differences to the previous model were good to see as an improvement.  

Rhys Tassell, Point of Care Testing Service Lead, Cambridge University Hospitals