Automation can simply be stated as the work done by machines that can run on their own without human monitoring. Automation refers to machines with intelligence and adaptability that decreases human efforts and workload. Lab automation market has robust growth in near future as it can be implanted in any process with proper techniques.
A laboratory has number of analytical processes, which can be converted into automation to save time and human workload. Here are some possibilities of application of automation in following laboratory steps.
Using glucometer, just by pressing a button on the tip of finger, the finger is pricked with least pain analysis can be done. However, all types of blood tests cannot be carried out by using glucometer, thereby automation in sample collection need to be improved. These are the techniques that are faster and causes least discomfort. Some of examples of these techniques are vacutainers and robotic system.
Sample Identification by Bar Coding and Labelling
The process starts with generation of unique identification or hospital code for every new patient. All samples collected need to be written names and details over it along with the unique identity number. This same process need to be followed while entering the data into the software.
Several advanced laboratories are utilizing computerized barcoding technology. It is likely to be scanned as well as read by bar code reader precisely so that transcriptional errors can be avoided.
Laboratories are still using conveyer belt systems or rely on human pick up system, which may lead to human error or delays.
To overcome these errors, pneumatic tube systems are being used in some laboratories. However, we need to be careful as the samples can be damaged while accelerating or decelerating. In some very advanced labs, mobile robots are used.
Many laboratories depend on technicians for sample processing as soon as it arrives. Introduction of automation is likely to reduce human efforts. Nowadays number of semi-automated device are developed that are capable of analyzing the whole blood sample itself. Such type of automated systems involves processes such as sample sorting, separating samples, removing caps, bar coding, etc.
It is all about the possibilities to introduce automation in different stages of laboratories. Here are some types of analyzers that can be implemented in the laboratories depending upon the purpose to which it can be used.
Auto analyzers are majorly segmented as Open system and Closed System. Open systems are the systems, where operator has the advantage to purchase reagents from any company so as to save money, whereas in the closed system, operator has to buy reagents from particular company on the back of rejection of other reagents by the system.
Analysis in laboratories can be automated starting from patient identification till report delivery. However, hidden cost and demand for trained people are key challenging factors that are restricting lab owners to implement such technologies. Modern auto analyzer run majorly on descript analysis, where every analysis can be conducted in various cuvets, evading carry over result. Random access analyzers are capable of running multiple tests at any time.