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Laboratory automation has revolutionized laboratories over the past years, ever since the technology has made its way into clinical laboratories throughout the world.
FREMONT, CA: Automation of laboratories has enabled laboratories to perform more tests, a massive variety of tests, fewer staff, and lower costs per test. It has also has altered how laboratories work, particularly within the clinical space. That has created a lot of conflict in how laboratories look at themselves, what tests are provided, and how the staff is deployed, creating challenges even as laboratories have saved money and enhanced service with this technology. This article discusses the benefits and challenges of laboratory automation and how they can shape how laboratories operate.
Reduces Repetitive Injuries
Manual labeling of tubes is not only tiring and time-consuming, but it can also lead to the physical strain of the fingers and hands. The people who have been hand labeling tubes for a long time might begin to experience numbness and tingling in hand, which finally decreases productivity in the lab. If the daily routine comprises labeling, filling, uncapping, and capping of tubes, this can result in stress injuries in the fingers and, in many cases, lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Several fully-automated labeling machines can complete all of these tasks and decrease the risk of repetitive injuries from manual labeling.
Eliminates Human Error
There are various steps involved in preparing and keeping track of samples in the lab. Lab automation decreases human error associated with sample preparation and increases the lab's efficiency by allowing the user to track samples. If working with a LIMS system or excel worklist, these can easily be imported into the software to ensure samples' tracking, reducing the amount of lost or misplaced samples.
Reduces Costs in the Lab
Using laboratory automation in a lab will decrease the number of lab technicians needed to label tubes, resulting in cost savings. This will reduce costs in the lab and find an increase in revenue due to lab automation.
Flexible Machinery Saves Valuable Space
Saving space in the lab is a legitimate concern. Although some lab automation systems have a large footprint and take up lots of room, many benchtop systems are designed to fit easily in a lab workspace.