A pulmonary function laboratory and the lab operators who work there are exposed to patients from a wide range of different health conditions. The technique for measuring lung function through spirometry, however, remains the same. It therefore requires great skill, observation and communication on the part of the operator to ensure all sorts of patients perform the pulmonary function test correctly. The insights and input of spirometry technicians are invaluable for understanding the true challenges for spirometry in different patient and use cases. Gökhan Erdoğan, who has headed pulmonary function labs in some of the largest hospitals in Turkey, graciously agrees to take time out of his busy schedule to sit with Spirohome to discuss his experiences in the field.
Making one technique suit all
Handling 250-300 patients a day, Gökhan Erdoğan explains the difficulties in expecting patients with different conditions to effectively use a spirometer. He explains the challenges in forming the necessary sealed connection between the spirometer and patient for cases where the patient has tracheostomy or scleroderma. He says, 'For such patients care must also be taken to manage secretions and controlling the risk of cross-contamination due to shared devices or test spaces. Current solutions include the use of special adaptors between the patient and the mouthpiece of the spirometer.
Device complexity and setup time impacts operator workload and patient enthusiasm
Having worked with a number of devices throughout the years Mr Erdoğan touches on the fact that special setup or routine maintenance requirements may add to the daily load of laboratories. He explains that older technologies such as pneumotachometers have a device warm-up time that needs to be observed prior to use, and turbine-based spirometers require daily calibration checks and/or procedures to ensure that it is maintaining accuracy in measurements. He adds, "device calibration at the beginning and disinfection/sterilisation at the end of a typical work day takes up a considerable amount of time for staff. Complicated spirometry systems that require detailed training and re-training sessions or those systems with numerous components or non-intuitive interfaces reduce the enthusiasm of both lab staff and patients".
Spirohome in the pulmonary function testing laboratory
A Spirohome Clinic user, Mr Erdoğan says he is extremely impressed with how fast you can go from unboxing the device to performing actual tests. He says "The software display is really easy to follow unlike other devices. For example, access to post-bronchodilator tests are readily available on the patient test records screen. The app is easy to navigate and specific training for the use of the app would probably not be necessary, it is a very practical device. You do not need to search for things they are intuitively displayed on the screen. Things like location and altitude detection for BTPS correction is performed automatically by the device, which saves time."
Mr Erdoğan also mentions that "The most important thing is to access data anywhere, anytime to provide quick healthcare. Therefore a web dashboard would be the most important feature for an operator or specialist. With the Spirohome Web Dashboard even if operators or specialists perform the test, or even if a patient is performing tests at home with a Spirohome Personal device, you can see the results on a common platform and speed up the provision of healthcare. It is important to remember that costs plays a major role in whether or not clinics, labs or personal users will buy the device, and Spirohome ticks this box too"
Senior MLP (medical laboratory technician)
Anadolu Medical Center, Pulmonary Function Lab