Being old-fashioned in the way I practice, it was going to take something special to persuade me to change my ways with regard to urine testing.
I have always preferred the quick and easy method of comparing a dipped stick to a chart using the naked eye.
I couldn't see the point of using a machine to do a job that I felt quite well equipped to perform myself more quickly than any machine.
However, on trying the Urisys 1100 urinanalysis machine I soon discovered that these machines should be seen as friend not foe.
I found the Urisys 1100 machine easy to set up.
It comes with a laminated quick guide, and once I had found the installation page in the manual, it was a case of plug in, insert the test strip tray, load the paper, refer to the laminated guide, dip urine and off we go.
Using the machine involves placing the test strip onto a tray, which then enters the machine for reading. The result is then printed off, listing each parameter as negative if it is normal or giving the figure if it is abnormal (such as protein 500mg/dl).
The reference range limits can all be adjusted as can the basic default settings. Test results that diverge from negative or normal values are flagged up with an asterisk and results can be printed off twice if required.
Patient IDs can be added to test results, which are then recorded in the machine's memory and also appear on the printed sheet. This can be done with a barcode reader or an AT/PC keyboard.
The device can also be connected to a PC or central host computer.
The instructions advise contacting Roche Diagnostics to set this up. Once this is done, results can be transmitted immediately from the Urisys to your PC.
I have to confess that for the first couple of readings I assessed with the naked eye as well as the machine because I didn't quite trust it. But I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to use.
I was previously unaware of the inadequacies of the human eye and how these can prevent an accurate reading of urine test strips.
Variable lighting conditions, an individual's skill at colour matching, the different reaction times of test strips and a strongly coloured urine can all affect a visual reading, as can the specific gravity level.
These variables are not a problem with the Urisys 1100. It takes all of them into account before giving out a reading.
I could not fault the speed of operation, with only 70 seconds elapsing from inserting the strip to obtaining a printed result. I had thought this delay would feel like an age and was concerned that it would give patients the opportunity for questions such as 'Oh, while we are waiting, can I just ask about what you think we should do about great aunt Matilda's revolting toenail', but I haven't had any such problems, and I have not been waiting over the machine for the result.
The machine must be calibrated if you want to use the Combur10 Test UX test strips (10 different measurements). Although this is quite straightforward, the calibration must be repeated every seven days.
Combur7 test strips - which measure pH, glucose, ketones, leuococytes, nitrite, protein and blood - and the Combur5 Test D strips do not require any calibration.
In a nutshell, the Urisys 1100 should suit most people's requirements. It is a comfortable transition for those of you still using the naked eye technique and overall I would thoroughly recommend it.
Why choose the Urisys 1100 over another urinalysis machine? One massive plus is its size; it is small and compact and fits neatly on a worktop, so you can avoid losing half your office or treatment room to a urine testing machine.
A few of my regulars even commented on my posh new gadget.
Equipment supplied by Williams Medical Supplies