BD Diagnostics offers solutions to improve clinical outcomes and lower costs

Feb. 17, 2013

Tom Polen

Worldwide President


Tom joined BD in 2009 as Worldwide President of BD Preanalytical Systems; previously, he was a General Manager and a Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Baxter Healthcare; before that, he served with BD's Bioscience and Diagnostic segments. He serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland BioPark.


Fellow at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; MBA, Johns Hopkins University; BS, University of Maryland


Spending time with family; fitness; automobiles; travel; and ongoing curiosity for new technologies

What is BD Diagnostics? We are a global leader of solutions focused on enabling earlier and more effective therapeutic intervention for patients with infectious disease or cancer. Our solutions are also designed to reduce the costs of delivering quality healthcare.

What solutions does BD Diagnostics provide its customers? We recognize that healthcare is facing unprecedented challenges, which require new approaches from our customers in order to thrive.  In response, we’ve developed solutions to accelerate the success of our customers and their patients by transformationally improving clinical outcomes and lowering costs. We offer these solutions in four major categories: (1) Molecular Diagnostic Solutions; (2) Microbiology Lab Automation Solutions; (3) Point-of-Care Solutions; and (4) Cervical Cancer Screening Solutions. All of these solutions are being integrated through our BD EpiCenterTM Data Management Software System.

How is BD investing in each of these solutions? Let me address each area.

Molecular Diagnostic Solutions. Molecular diagnostics is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare, and more laboratories are using molecular testing for more types of diseases. There is significant innovation happening in this space, and clinically impactful molecular content is expanding faster than customer budgets can absorb. Our solutions are designed to strike that right balance between clinical impact and cost effectiveness—allowing our customers to offer their physicians and patients more, with lower costs. To do this we have developed two main offerings designed to strike that right balance between cost, lab efficiency, performance, and breadth of menu, which our customers are asking for. The BD MAX™ system is designed for acute settings where rapid turnaround, high flexibility, and broad menu are critical. It is fully automated and can be run on any shift, and we have more than 20 assays launched or in development. As an open system, BD MAX also enables our customers to fully automate their in-house developed tests. The BD Viper™ System with XTR™ Technology strikes the right balance for high-throughput, low-cost screening tests such as Chlamydia trachomatisNeisseria gonorrhoeae (CT/GC), Herpes simplex (HSV) 1 and 2, Trichomonas, and, in the future, human papillomavirus (HPV) with genotyping.  

Microbiology Lab Automation Solutions. This is an exciting time in microbiology as new technologies transform the field. For example, our new BD Kiestra™ Total Lab Automation System helps our customers cut their time to results, while concurrently improving lab productivity. 

Point-of-Care Solutions. The changing healthcare environment, with its formation of new accountable care organizations, is prompting hospitals to integrate more physician practices and is driving the need for increased quality across the care continuum. To that point, our new BD Veritor™ System is a point-of-care platform designed to provide near-PCR performance using a low-cost, handheld CLIA-waived instrument. Today we offer assays for influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and, soon, streptococcal bacteria, with plans to expand into other areas.

Cervical Cancer Screening Solutions. As recommended cervical cancer screening intervals have increased, it has become ever more important to ensure that one is using the most sensitive method for disease detection.  The BD SurePath™ Liquid-based Pap Test, along with our FocalPoint™ automated imaging system, helps to provide that. We’ll soon be launching our new BD Totalys™ automation suite for improved efficacy and turnaround time.

How are molecular diagnostics products and solutions evolving to meet changing customer needs? As molecular diagnostics moves from “elite” users to a broader market, labs are increasingly interested in its operational aspects such as ease of use, efficiency, and flexibility. To better serve our customers, BD is focused on providing labs with more choices for their molecular diagnostics testing needs—from automation and throughput to menu options and the ability to develop their own tests. Our systems are designed to work the way the lab works—not the other way around. For the community hospital looking for a single molecular platform to integrate all testing, BD MAX meets those needs with a cost-effective and automated platform designed to offer the broadest range of test menu. Large academic hospitals, in addition to their focus on acute conditions such as healthcare-associated or enteric infections, will often want the flexibility to develop assays that are important to their specific patient population. Because of the traditional complexity of user-defined protocols, these are most often required to be run in batches and only on select days or shifts. The BD MAX system enables these customers to offer both user-defined protocols and BD-provided in vitro diagnostic tests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on a fully automated CLIA moderately complex platform.

How has BD Diagnostics expanded its molecular diagnostics portfolio in the last year? The BD Max system has over 20 tests available or in development. We currently offer tests for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and a research use only test for carbopenem-resistant organisms. We also expect to launch our Clostridium difficile assay in the U.S. shortly.  A few of the many assays in our pipeline include ova and parasite, enteric bacteria, and vaginitis panels. The BD Viper System includes assays for CT/GC and HSV 1 and 2, and we expect to launch a Trichomonas assay in the U.S. later this year.

Photo 179593641 © Mr.suphachai Praserdumrongchai |
Photo 87999096 © Chris Dorney |
Photo 146214352 © Nitsuki |
Photo 154855754 © Serge Mikheev |
Photo 958301 © Ieva Zigg |