Comparison of MRSA plate reading methods: APAS® Independence (Artificial Intelligence), plate-in-hand and Kiestra™ (digital reads)

Automated systems have emerged to facilitate the interpretation of bacteriology culture with and without artificial intelligence (AI). While some steps in the culture plate workflow have been automated the plate reading step is still highly reliant on manual labour, reviewing plates-in-hand or reviewing images on screen. As demand for testing increases an ongoing shortage of microbiologists provide further challenges for labs to meet increasing demand with limited resources. The introduction of AI in culture plate reading promises to standardise reading efforts, leading to increased consistency. Instruments such as APAS Independence have the potential to provide microbiology laboratories with a greater level of consistency, traceability, and reliability.

This study evaluated the performance of various reading methods compared to traditional plate-in-hand (manual plate reading) for interpretation of growth on bioMérieux ChromID® MRSA culture plates. A total of 500 clinical samples were investigated using the APAS Independence (automated AI plate reader), BD Kiestra™ (Automated System digital reads), and conventional plate-in-hand at 24 and 48 hours. The “gold standard” for the study were the plate-in-hand reads with confirmed MRSA isolates present. Sensitivity and specificity across all methods were calculated.
The study demonstrated that there is an inherent human error when reading plate-in-hand. APAS Independence showed a higher degree of sensitivity and specificity at 48 hours when compared to the gold standard, while Kiestra™ digital reads showed a lower sensitivity.

Poster Presentation: by SA Pathology

Conference: ECCMID 2021, Online

Date: July 2021

Authors: Diep K, Giglio S, Holds J, Moore C, Morales M

Citation: Holds J, et al. ECCMID 2021. Comparison of MRSA plate reading methods: APAS® Independence (Artificial Intelligence), plate-in-hand and Kiestra™ (digital reads)