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Laboratory automation: maximising benefits and reducing risks

While automation of laboratory tests and procedures can bring great efficiencies and benefits to the laboratory and to overall patient care, effective implementation of an automation project requires detailed planning strategy and evaluation, as Renato Gargiani explains.

Clinical laboratories today face increasing pressure to automate their operations due to ever-increasing workloads, the need to reduce expenses, and difficulties in recruiting experienced technical personnel.

Since the development of the first continuous-flow analyser in the 1950s, laboratory automation has continued to evolve and expand its capabilities. Automated processes are now an indispensable necessity to maximise efficiency and minimise errors by integrating mechanical, electronic, and informatic tools to perform an ever-expanding variety of laboratory tasks.

With increased pressure to reduce healthcare costs, the use of automation and robotics, from automation islands (task-targeted automation or TTA), to large integrated core-laboratory systems (total laboratory automation or TLA), has become pervasive in clinical laboratories worldwide to achieve faster turnaround times, reduce errors, and improve patient care.

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