The Leica Biosystems Process and Solutions Optimization team partnered with a medical university to examine how to optimize their IHC lab. Laboratory leadership is interested in gaining efficiencies in the immunohistochemistry and special stain lab as volumes increase. The Process and Solutions Optimization team identified some ways to help this laboratory recognize and overcome areas where inefficiencies have hindered their ability to increase capacity.

As Figure 1 shows, there are myriad steps found in the special stain/IHC lab. The divergent work paths reflect the number of independent processes performed by, generally, two technicians. Many of the processes are manual and involve slide sorting, hand writing, and recopying information on paper. For a run of 149 total slides, 42 minutes was spent organizing information to prepare the run.

As seen in Figure 2, by eliminating the hand-writing, paper, and relabeling, the complexity of processing the slides is greatly reduced.


  • By reducing handwriting and paper, along with utilizing a single platform IHC system, the hands-on tech time was reduced by 40% with current processes (from 52 minutes to 31 minutes).
  • By eliminating additional waste steps such as double (or triple) labeling, the hands-on tech time was further reduced another 21 minutes bringing the total hands-on time to 10 minutes, an 81% reduction in hands-on tech time.

Instruments used in this case study

BOND-III Vollautomatisches IHC- und ISH-Färbesystem

This reference document is presented as a service to health care professionals by Leica Biosystems and has been compiled from available literature. Although every effort has been made to report faithfully the information, Leica Biosystems cannot be held responsible for the correctness. This document is not intended to be, and should not be construed as medical advice. For any use, the product information guides, inserts and operation manuals of the various drugs and devices should be consulted. Leica Biosystems and the editors disclaim any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of drugs, devices, techniques or procedures described in this reference document.