The last years, medical laboratories have faced a multitude of challenges, from decreasing costs, to facing the reduced pool of experienced laboratory professionals, causing clinical laboratory managers to look for new strategies that enable them to do more with less, keeping the same quality and improving service levels.
New strategies should be able to help medical laboratories remain profitable, while to improve productivity enough to increase revenue and profitability.
Forward thinking clinical laboratory managers and executives, therefore,are looking at lab automation technology as a means to ease these mounting pressures and grow their medical laboratory capacity to meet the ever-increasing demand for diagnostic testing by an aging population.
Choosing lab automation system not necessary guarantee you will reach your goals, right identification of your needs, implementation and managing should be the key points to match your goals.Basically, the Lab Automation System should be part of an overall worldview of the medical laboratory managing.
Just connecting analyzers one to other without pre-analytics, post-analytics and process managing of the samples moving between instruments and automation stations may result in failure to achieve the automation implementation objectives.
Lab Automation system, including all analyzers, automation stations, track traffic of samples, pre and post analytics should be managing like one single analyzer. Meaning that the productivity of your lab has to take into consideration the integrative productivity and not the summary of each single device.
We define a new value to be able to evaluate the whole system performance, APPV (Automation Productivity Performance Value), we implement this new tool in order to integrate in one single value all the different factors influencing the regular function of the automation system.
"Lab Automation system, including all analyzers, automation stations, track traffic of samples, pre and post analytics should be managing like one single analyzer"
Taking into consideration that instruments and automation modules, analytes optimization and logistics and operation issuesare able to influence the harmony of the normal production and became bottleneck in the sample processing we define the total system productivity, and any critical fluctuation should be debriefed and solved weekly. This periodical debriefing become our routine way for the total processing evaluation, at this way we can find when the system failed to reach the predefined goal what’s the factor influenced to this fail.
The APPV we define in our lab is a percentage of total daily tests we are able to perform in only one hour during the peak hours in the lab. We implement a APPV of 30 percent and we have to look how to reach it during production hours in the lab.
Taking into consideration that the throughput of each single module of the automation system is predefine by thelab automation system manufacturer, we have to design the reagents map all over the different analyzers to reach the minimum TAT of each sample on the automation system. For instance, in order to reach optimization, we mapped the average type of tests we use to get on the lab and found that 80 percent percent of the samples contains the same type of tests, at this way we distribute the reagents in order to guarantee that 80 percent of the samples we should be able to treat in minimum TAT. At the same way we analyze and re-planed the process in order to meet the predefined goal of APPV.
The above description should be an integral part of work planning in the laboratory and is part of the concept of Total Lab Automation when the system serves the Lab and not the opposite.