Clinical Chemistry Core Lab


Performing 10 million diagnostic tests per year, the laboratories at Penn Medicine utilize state-of-art test technology interfaced up front to a completely electronic physician ordering system, followed by seamless transmission and distribution to a variety of electronic medical record systems using either desktop or mobile applications.
The Core Lab located on 7 Founders serves a large inpatient and emergency department patient population, while simultaneous supporting a network of outpatient practices and specialty oncology services. The clinical chemistry laboratory performs assays on serum, plasma, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and other body fluid samples. Stat requests using plasma samples enable result times of less than 30 minutes, very important in the management of emergency room and other critically ill patients. The core lab has become one of the busiest and most productive university hospital laboratories in the nation.
Key to the successful processing of our large daily volume of samples are high throughput analyzers with redundant capabilities, allowing for uninterrupted delivery of vital patient services when instrument maintenance or unexpected downtime occurs. This large volume lab operates with minimal direct technologist handling. The vast majority of specimens are placed in racks at the starting point of a short journey down an automated track system to the analyzer, followed by delivery to an automated refrigerated storage system. Results that pass specific screening parameters (configured by the medical director) are autoverified by the laboratory computer and then transmitted immediately to the patient’s medical record. Multiple ID and specimen quality checks along the specimen’s journey ensure the highest quality results. The process, reminiscent of a high-tech assembly line, is designed and configured to maximize test throughput while maintaining test accuracy.


• The core lab has an extensive chemistry test menu of approximately 135 different assays available on major sample types (serum/plasma, urine, CSF and body fluids).
• Designed to perform the maximum number of tests with a minimum specimen volume, the chemistry analyzers can perform 32 separate chemistry assays on 1/3 mL (about 7 drops) of blood.
• Optimization of specimen-handling protocols minimizes turnaround times for all critical service areas of the hospital
• Integration of customer service with high-quality analyzers permits a full array of laboratory testing for both research and routine clinical care needs