The challenges faced by today’s clinical laboratory are to reduce errors, increase service levels, optimize resources and contain costs. In improving the production process, consolidated laboratories or core labs are implemented with two automation models: the totally automated laboratory and the modular automated laboratory. Today, this automation extends practices.
Starting from the basic automation components inside the clinical laboratory (automation of instruments, LIS / LIMS and pre-analysis and early analysis automation), various laboratory automation strategies exist:
- LIS / LIMS systems. These have become complex platforms that can perform tasks ranging from the monitoring of commercial processes to laboratory workflow management.
- Open automation. The solutions are designed by suppliers and can be connected with any instrument in the laboratory.
- Fewer errors, better performance. There is a growing demand for tests and test refunds, which makes it essential for laboratories to optimize their performance.
Automation is particularly based on robotics, which can change the working method of specialists in a laboratory. Furthermore, it will become increasingly easy and economical to speed up results thanks to the sophistication of the specialized machines. The following are some of the new practices:
- Automatic sample processing. The machines perform the chemical and biological processes with ever-increasing speed and efficiency, and this means less time is spent waiting for results.
- Most commonly used equipment. The haematological counter and the blood biochemistry analyser are equipment items that are used very frequently in an automated clinical laboratory.
- Personalized workflows. Robotics will become increasingly easy, intuitive and flexible, to the point that specialists will be able to adapt it to their operational methods.
- More fields for the automated laboratory. Clinical chemistry and haematology were the first fields to become fully automated. They have been followed by molecular diagnostics and anatomical pathology.
- Automated liquid handling. Instruments used here reduce the time required to perform repetitive pipetting tasks at any throughput level, with medium or high processing speeds.
- Integrated tube management. Automation makes it possible to monitor the useful life of a tube and in this way manage pre- and post-analytical processes more efficiently.
- Objectives and resources. Finally, prior to the implementation of a solution, laboratory managers must be clear about what they want to achieve with automation and the resources they require. Only in this way will they obtain a solution that will prepare their laboratory for the future.
At Idneo, we assist our customers in the laboratory automation process, offering them our experience and knowhow, from the design of devices through to their development, validation and manufacture. Contact us here and we will be delighted to help you.