The lab — a place for science and research where experiments and tests are on the daily agenda. Yet the world of the laboratory is changing. Digitalization and automation mark a new era. For World Laboratory Day on April 23, we venture a look at the laboratory of the future and show how clinical laboratories can profit from automation.
Laboratories are essential in medicine, research, and development. They are the place were ideas are produced, implemented, and optimized. Innovative technologies are very important in such processes, especially in healthcare. Reliable products and a high degree of quality must always be ensured. In this context, automation is playing a larger and larger role. Many laboratories are already equipped with various systems or system solutions to be able to satisfy at the same time the high requirements in the use of medical devices, like IVDs. Also numerous advantages speak for a future in which automated systems will find their way into more and more clinical laboratories:
1. Faster results
High efficiency is one of the most important arguments for automation. With automated processes, analyses can be carried out in considerably less time—even with a high volume of specimens. In this way, resources can be used more efficiently and test results can be made available faster.
2. Reduction of errors
Errors can easily occur during manual processing, especially with repetitive activities, like pipetting, for example. Machines like the fully automated ELISA ThunderBolt® system process series of tests, however, always according to the same standardized models. This reduces error susceptibility significantly. The results have also better reproducibility and comparability.
3. Better traceability
Automation makes processes transparent and traceable. The specimens can be tracked throughout the entire process—from collection to the automated documentation of the results. Even when a high volume of specimens are being processed, automation can ensure that the test results are assigned to the right patient and that no specimens get lost.
4. Cost reduction
Automated processes save material and require less personnel. They allow for further cost savings as well: The more rapid diagnoses help reduce the amount of time patients have to be treated in isolation.
5. Increased security
Clinical laboratories can benefit from automation in matters of security as well: Automated processing of specimens lowers the risk of contamination and injuries for the laboratory personnel.