Clinical testing lab moves into bigger headquarters

Richard Okazaki
Richard Okazaki
Marni Murdock
Marni Murdock

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The largest locally-owned clinical laboratory in the state is now in new headquarters, the result of an increasing demand in patient testing.

When your doctor takes a blood or urine sample from you, it has to be analyzed somewhere. And its likely that it will end up at Diagnostic Laboratory Services, a 25 year-old company that outgrew its old home.

"At Dole (Cannery), where we previously were, we just ran out of space to add any more new tests to our menu, and we were struggling with the volume of tests that we were running at that space," said DLS president Richard Okazaki.

Its new home is in what was the Panasonic warehouse in Halawa.

Work on finding bigger headquarters began about three years ago. A new place had to have enough room for a big workforce.

"On a regular work day, we have as many as 300 people working in this facility, so you need things like parking," Okazaki said. "A lot of places that we looked at had enough floor space, but not enough parking."

The exterior looks the same. But the company spent $20 million on renovations to the 82,000 square-foot facility.

"That was one of our biggest challenges, that it was a totally different function," said Marni Murdock of Architects Hawaii. "It started out as a large warehouse space, and we had to convert it into a laboratory, a functioning clinical laboratory."

DLS has seen increases in the amount of medical testing, in part because of a growing and aging population.

It also has a contract with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to test for tuberculosis in Pacific Island populations, like Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

And there's more sophisticated testing.

"That is really where testing is going, into the more of what we call esoteric-type testing, specifically more into molecular testing, which is not only faster but more accurate," said Okazaki.

DLS said more physicians are likely going to be ordering more tests, and so the company has made sure that it's new home can remain and expand for at least another 20 years.

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