Customer insight: Automated, accurate – and across the three corners of the Philippines

A trio of cobas c 111 users located at the reaches of this island nation agreed on their verdict: a solid thumbs-up for the product and its benefits.

To say ‘The Philippines are the future’ is to state the truth. Now the world’s 12th largest nation with a rapidly growing economy, its 100 million people naturally want the best and latest in medical care, including diagnostics. Mostly this is provided by private clinics and laboratories. Of the latter, we called on three to ask their feedback on the cobas c 111 – which seems to be just right fit for their needs.


A reference lab for the region


Located far to the southeast of the Philippine archipelago, the Bicol Cardiovascular Diagnostic Cooperative annually turns out 90,000 clinical chemistry results in Naga City, a cluster of some 160,000 people. When pathologist Dr Heriberto Fornoles arrived a few years ago to lead the laboratory, he was dismayed to discover that diagnostic results were not correlating with the clinical findings of the doctors. Soon the choice was made to replace the then-existing equipment, from another supplier, with a c 111. Now, we don’t have problems, he assures. The Roche machine generates some 250 results every day, at quality so consistently high that the operation has become a reference lab for the region.


A cooperative lab that works 24/7


Some 700 km to the west across the Sulu Sea lies the slightly larger conglomeration of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. There, the MMG Cooperative Hospital’s laboratory works 24/7 in 3 shifts to process some 300 samples a day, about half of those involving clinical chemistry. Buying a cobas c 111 was seen as a way to automate operations and thereby sidestep the area’s chronic shortage lab-tech manpower, reports Manager Lots Timbancaya. The machine delivered on its promise, she notes, and also improved speed, accuracy and quality.


A mall in the midst of a modern mega-city


Groceries, clothes, blood testing – you can find it all at the Manila mall where Clinica Manila is located. The lab does retail hours, too, usually staying open late into the evening. Since it acquired a fully automated cobas c 111 system in 2006, the staff’s manual diagnostic work has eased, freeing them to tackle other tasks. For instance, no longer need blood sugar tests be done by hand, involving a complicated boiling procedure. Now the cobas c 111 does the job. At first it seemed almost too easy, says Chief Medical Technologies Peter Alcala.


We doubted the results, wondering if the machine might be inaccurate and error-prone. But soon, he and his colleagues realized they could trust Roche. You just place the sample in the machine, and let it do the job for you.