How can an advanced, automated slide staining system improve efficiency and lab sustainability?

Rising challenges call for elevated solutions

Histology labs are in a unique position to help bring the promise of healthcare innovations to patients by streamlining the care pathway at the point of diagnosis.1,2 

However, with the surge in cancer caseloads, labs are challenged more than ever to provide fast, consistent, reproducible results from the lab to the pathologists to the physicians and their patients. Labs also need to help protect staff from hazardous material and address tightening sustainability standards - all as efficiently as possible.


Efficiency starts with usability and workflow


The way a histology lab team interacts with its slide staining system largely influences efficiency. Implementation of newer, more advanced systems with automated technology can help get IHC/ISH patient tissue samples to pathologists faster. In turn, results to clinicians are delivered quicker so doctors and patients can have the answers they need to take appropriate action.  

Consider your lab: Do histotechnologists have to move back and forth between instruments to learn what’s needed next? Does a queue form at the host computer to start a slide run?

An automated IHC/ISH slide staining instrument that has multiple options for interaction can help mitigate this situation. In addition to the regular host terminal, a touchscreen on the instrument and remote access from an authorized computer can help improve workflow efficiency and flexibility. It allows the instrument to be operated from multiple touchpoints, not just the host computer. Additionally, it can enable the ability to monitor inventory levels and restock from a remote computer. 


Every second saved can add up to gains in productivity and value delivered


Improving operational efficiencies as well as reducing workflow demands with advanced systems helps free up staff for other, more critical tasks.3 This can translate into added value tasks that enable faster turnaround times so physicians more quickly get the results needed to effectively manage their patients.  

Features of these advanced systems extend to seemingly simple but powerful performance enhancers. Such examples include an advanced touchscreen with larger icons and text, a retractable work surface that makes it easier to prepare slide runs, or a light bar on the instrument to indicate the next steps - which is visible from across the room.  Simplifying inventory management with color-coded bulk bottles, minimizing downtime through a slide stain drawer design that makes loading faster, and even the ability to customize reports for printing all save precious time and may add up to significant productivity benefits.

Tissue image

The advantages of environmentally sustainable and efficient waste management go beyond cost savings


Waste management is essential for the environment from a sustainability perspective. Leading companies use sustainability initiatives to mitigate risk to their supply chain and operations, reputation, and license to operate.4 Research by McKinsey found that the value at stake from sustainability issues can be as high as 25 to 70 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation.4

Conversely, it can be difficult to manage hazardous waste and the consequences of not doing it well can be dangerous, time-consuming and costly. How costly? In 2022, US companies could be fined a civil penalty up to $81,540 per violation, per day for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste violations.5

Classified as a suspected carcinogen, unreacted 3,3’-Diaminobenzidine (DAB) is considered hazardous above certain levels.6 Liquid chromatography analysis is used to validate that an instrument is able to effectively neutralize DAB below the limit of quantitation. For many labs, the presence of DAB in aqueous waste translates to large volumes of controlled waste and costly third-party waste management services. 

A system that effectively degrades DAB hazardous waste below the most stringent hazardous thresholds and enables the separation of oil-based waste is easier to manage. What’s more, a streamlined system delivers cost and time savings by eliminating the need to do these steps manually. 


Creating value through enhanced efficiency


The predicted surge in cancer screenings and diagnoses elevates the need for advanced instrumentation to help labs keep pace with the increasing and aggressive demand.  To remain competitive, it’s imperative that labs demonstrate how their offerings can help health systems and payers continue to meet this demand, enabling value creation and improved patient outcomes.2


How will your next slide staining system measurably advance your lab’s efficiency? 


Now is the time to streamline the care pathway in ways not imagined before. Learn how Roche is expanding lab efficiency fueled by insights you and your colleagues have shared.


  1. Crawford JM, et al. (2017). Acad Path 4, 1-8.
  2. Deloitte Development LLC. (2017). Report available from: [Accessed June 2022]
  3. Roche Diagnostics, North America. (2019). Report available from [Accessed June 2022]
  4. Bonini S and Swartz S. (2014). Report available from [Accessed June 2022]
  5. Marks R (2022). Article available from [Accessed June 2022]
  6. Roche Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (2021). Liquid chromatography analysis confirms the BenchMark ULTRA PLUS system neutralises 3,3’-Diaminobenzidine below limit of quantitation. [Unpublished report]