Total Laboratory Automation Gives Clinical Pathology Labs More Ways to Achieve Significant Efficiency and Savings

TLA and other laboratory automation solutions help clinical labs cope with shortage medical technologists

It’s been about 15 years since the first total laboratory automation (TLA) solutions were introduced into clinical laboratories in the United States. Starting in the mid-1990s, several commercial laboratory companies and a handful of hospital laboratories took the plunge and installed total laboratory automation systems in their high volume core laboratories.

Today, hundreds of clinical pathology laboratories in the United States have turned to laboratory automation as one approach to improving quality, reducing turnaround times for lab test results, to save money, and to improve staff productivity. Starting around the year 2000, an ever-growing number of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers and other companies have introduced laboratory automation solutions and systems. This has widened the choices of medical laboratories, who often prefer a task-targeted automation solution to the “whole enchilada”—total laboratory automation.

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Combining Medical Lab Automation and Process Improvement Delivers Big Gains for Pathology Laboratories

Here in Glasgow, Scotland, clinical laboratory directors share successes with TLA and Lean

Use of total laboratory automation (TLA) in clinical pathology laboratories now often involves use of process improvement and Lean techniques. That’s one insight that emerged from a special extended session on medical laboratory automation and process improvement at the Association for Clinical Biochemistry’s  annual Focus meeting in Glasgow, Scotland last week.

As a trend, it shows how process improvement and Lean are becoming important management tools for pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. In vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers have recognized this development and often provide expertise or consulting assistance on process improvement methods to help medical laboratory managers. The goal is to use process workflow redesign and Lean Six Sigma methods to design the most efficient way to handle specimens, then support this work flow with the best laboratory automation solutions.

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