UCHealth Automated Coronavirus Testing System Could Take Pressure Off Lab Workers

While raising a toddler and navigating family life, they’re also working day-in and day-out to process thousands of COVID-19 tests that come in daily.

“It’s not really life as normal, but its life as best as we can now,” Michael said.

In the fight against COVID-19, testing is considered a key defense and those health care workers in the lab are among the dozens of frontline heroes.

“We all know how important this… I know if anyone in my family was exposed or had to go through testing, I would want to get the results out as soon as possible,” Michael Dobler said.

He works in the lab at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital; his wife Madeline does as well.

“It just kind of exploded in March and has really been going on ever since,” she said.

Even as positivity rates dipped during the summer months, testing ramped up. Knowing everyone wants results fast, the pressure at work ramped up with it.

“I know Mike takes it on personally, he’ll say, ‘If I can stay another hour and get another result, there’s 96 patients who can have results’ or ‘If I go home, they are going to have to wait another 16 hours,’” Madeline said.

Now they have help.

UCHealth is now one of the first hospitals in the country to use an automated COVID-19 testing system in the lab, which will ensure faster test results.

“This new system has been a blessing in so many ways because with all the manual process that was very taxing on all of our staff,” Michael said.

And while they both know the new tool will help with the workload, there’s little that can help with mentally preparing for what is likely a long road ahead.

“We would always really like to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know it’s there at some point but you can’t just dwell on that. You know more and more samples are coming up,” he said.

Since the pandemic started, Mike and his team have helped to process more than 400,000 COVID-19 tests.

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