Automation: the value of keeping things moving in the lab

Dec. 19, 2019
Automated software systems and equipment are the unsung heroes of the clinical lab. True workhorses that stand ready to assist busy staff by offering simple, user-friendly operation – walkaway operation in many cases – that allow multiple procedures to take place simultaneously. These systems not only provide standardization of processing, but they also reduce the risk of human errors that occurs with manual testing procedures, such as pipetting. As such, the adoption of automation has proven itself worth the cost of equipment and training many times over for busy labs, who no longer have to rerun tests due to manual input and result inconsistencies.

However, when respondents of the IT survey were asked if their lab used a laboratory automated system, the answers were surprisingly split evenly down the middle with 50 percent saying yes and 50 percent saying no. For those that answered yes, they were asked to list the most valuable reasons to use an automated system. The answers chosen most by respondents, in order of their value were:

  • Auto-verification, QC review and instrument flagging during the process;
  • Flexibility and adapts to test volume levels;
  • Scalable and can add modules (for example, centrifuges);
  • Integrated IT connectivity;
  • Test tubes and automated post-analytical tube management.
  • Reduced consumable usage