Lab Department Mission Partners at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton stand between the hospital’s two new next-generation lab analyzers – the only ones at any hospital in the Riverbend region – that provide greater efficiency, accuracy, and productivity for enhanced patient care management. Pictured are (Front row L to R): Becca Plasmeier, clinical lab supervisor; Sarah Braundmeier, lab services manager; Ali Johnson, lab assistant; (Middle Row L to R): Morrisan Connolly, medical technologist; Patty Maguire, chemistry lead; (Back Row L to R): Levi Bushue, medical technologist; Keisha Burnett, hematology lead; Gwen West, point-of-care coordinator.

ALTON - There are numerous names, faces and spaces behind the scenes in hospitals that the public never gets a chance to experience. That holds true for two of the newest “Mission Partners” in the Laboratory Department at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton (employees at OSF Saint Anthony’s are called Mission Partners).

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Their names are “Buzz” and “Woody” – and while those names might indicate they’re actual humans, they’re not. “Buzz” and “Woody” are the monikers Lab Department Mission Partners gave to their two new next-generation lab analyzer machines – the only two that can be found at any hospital in the Riverbend region.

“Technology has improved diagnostics in so many ways, including accuracy, speed, and accessibility,” says Dennis Sands, MD, chief medical officer, OSF Saint Anthony’s. “Technology helps medical professionals at all levels with regard to care coordination and patient education while addressing one of the biggest issues in health care today: chronic illness.”

Acquired from Abbott Diagnostics, “Buzz” and “Woody” are from the Alinity ci-series line of lab analyzers that offer powerful integration across clinical chemistry and immunoassay in multiple configurations to meet any lab’s diagnostic needs and maximize operational efficiency.

“Our new state-of-the-art lab analyzers will provide greater efficiency, accuracy and productivity for enhanced patient care management,” states Sarah Braundmeier, MT (ASCP), MHA, manager of lab services at OSF Saint Anthony’s. “We will now have faster turnaround times for chemistry testing so our providers can make quicker patient care decisions. The analyzers are also streamlined for efficiency, so lab Mission Partners do not have to stop performing patient testing to perform routine functions. Also, the new analyzers were designed for ease of use and test result accuracy. Plus, we’re able to expand our in-house testing menu to offer more tests locally which leads to faster turnaround times.”

One of the technological features of the Alinity ci-series is its new high-sensitivity troponin assay – this plays a critical role in the timely diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), otherwise known as heart attacks.

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According to a report published by the American Heart Association (AHA), six-to-eight million people in the United States visit a hospital emergency department (ED) annually with suspected AMI (i.e. heart attacks). When only 8-15% of patients have an AMI, so, in theory, many of those specific patients could be discharged and not admitted to the hospital.

And speaking more specifically to OSF Saint Anthony’s new lab analyzers, the Alinity ci-series equipment may improve the diagnosis of heart attacks in women because normal and critical ranges related to biomarkers can help clarify the clinical picture between the two genders.

Overall, timely action on cardiac lab results is critical and may improve patient outcomes.

“EDs continually face the challenge of rapidly diagnosing and triaging patients with chest pains, and with our new lab analyzers, now we have the ability to enable faster decisions on discharge and admission,” Dr. Sands says. “Along with those benefits, we can now receive faster, more accurate diagnosis of AMI which in turn provides benefits to the patient and hospital simultaneously such as reduced costs, shorter lengths of stay, lower admission rates, and less overnight stays.”

So, back to “Buzz” and “Woody.” Why give two machines human names? “Our Laboratory Mission Partners are very excited to have this new generation of Abbott analyzers – and we wanted to have some fun, so we decided to hold a naming contest,” says Brandmeier.

Then why were the names “Buzz” and “Woody” the winning selections? “In the ‘Toy Story’ Disney movie franchise, the character Buzz Lightyear would say, ‘to infinity, and beyond!’ And because the lab analyzers are part of the Alinity series, it was a creative play on words,” says Brandmeier.

More patient care information can be located at

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