Faster Diagnosis for More PatientsHow a Rather Inaccessible Region in India Benefits from Laboratory Automation

Automated lab in Indian diagnostic center

January 22, 2014 | Babina Diagnostics in India's turbulent and relatively inaccessible northeastern region has invested in laboratory automation to provide quality healthcare at affordable rates. 


An article by Archis Mohan


Babina Diagnostics processes almost 1,000 patient samples per day

India's northeastern region is both relatively inaccessible and underdeveloped. Good healthcare services are mostly unavailable. Babina Diagnostics is an exception. For the last 30 years, it has made quality healthcare services accessible to the people of Manipur. It turned to laboratory automation to handle its huge volume of samples. The StreamLABTM Analytical Workcell has helped reduce turnaround times, increase employee efficiency, and has improved physician and patient satisfaction.

Dr. Th. Dhabali Singh, founder and owner of Babina Diagnostics
Dr. Th. Dhabali Singh, founder and owner of Babina Diagnostics

The four-storied glass facade of Babina Diagnostics in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, a state in northeastern India, stands out amid the dilapidated structures that dot the city. An even bigger surprise, however, can be found on the third floor of the laboratory: The centerpiece of this laboratory is a Siemens StreamLAB Analytical Workcell, the only one in India. Babina Diagnostics has one of the best-equipped diagnostic laboratories in the region.

“I want to give the best to the people of Manipur”
Dr. Th. Dhabali Singh, 59, founder and owner of Babina Diagnostics, says with a chuckle that many in the small world of India’s diagnostic industry think he has lost his sense of entrepreneurial balance – what with his significant investments in state-of the art diagnostic instruments in a place like Manipur, where purchasing power is much lower than the national average. But the doctor, who founded Babina Diagnostics in 1983, says: “I want to give the best to the people of Manipur.”

Babina Diagnostics covers 70 percent market share in the region thanks to automated systems
The new solution means less errors and more productivity of employees.

Raising Productivity with Laboratory Automation
There is method in Singh's strategy. He bought the StreamLAB a little over two years ago within months of its launch in India. And the acquisition has since paid rich dividends.
The StreamLAB solution is an intuitive automation solution that consolidates all tasks in a single workstation, which helps streamline workflow. This compact system is fully-automated and offers extensive immunoassay menu options. The StreamLAB solution has helped Babina Diagnostics reduce its turnaround time in the range of 30-35 percent. It has almost entirely eliminated errors on the laboratory floor and has increased the productivity of employees.

Covering a 70 Percent Market Share in the Region
With the acquisition of the StreamLAB solution, Babina Diagnostics – which commands a 70 percent market share of Manipur's diagnostics business – can process a million tests a year. It processes almost 1,000 patient samples per day – approximately 70 percent are walk-in patients while the rest of the samples come from Babina's 100 collection centers spread across Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Tripura, and even Myanmar.
Patients, who often come from far-off villages, are confident of receiving their test reports by lunchtime. Despite the significant investments, the volumes have helped Babina Diagnostics keep the cost of its diagnostic tests affordable for the average population.


Archis Mohan is a New Delhi-based freelance journalist. He writes on a range of issues for both Indian and foreign print and television media outlets, including Hindustan Times, The Telegraph, NDTV and Times Now.