Automated workflows have been regarded as important tools for clinical laboratories to achieve efficiency, accuracy, standardisation, quality and patient data safety. For a variety of reasons, however, many Indian laboratories in the past have been slow to adopt these technologies as a broad strategy. Nevertheless, with an increasing demand for higher levels of performance, the need for automated workflows are becoming more and more essential. Moreover, with increasing clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies in Europe, automated workflows are slowly but steadily becoming a new norm in clinical laboratory practice, ensuring diagnostic accuracy and improved result turnaround time (TAT). When automated workflows are integrated with digital information systems these technologies work wonders for a laboratory, inform experts.
“We have been using automated workflows and have witnessed a considerable difference in capacity and efficiency. We conduct over 25000 tests on a daily basis including routine as well as specialised tests, with routine tests obviously forming a larger chunk. Given the sheer volumes of tests conducted, higher throughput becomes critical. We use the automated workflows for primarily routine clinical chemistry tests followed by specialised chemistry,” shares Dr Ajay Phadke, Centre Head, SRL Dr Avinash Phadke Labs.
Dr Arjun Dang, CEO, DR Dangs Lab explaining how automated workflows are used at their lab says, “Each step in the sample life cycle from collection to dispatch of reports is automated in our laboratory thus, assuring testing of the highest quality. Checks are introduced in the automated workflow so as to ensure the highest diagnostic accuracy and reliability of services provided. Few of these automation tools include use of pneumatic chutes for timely transfer of biological specimens to the lab for analysis, FDA approved/CE marked automated platforms and use of a robust Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to effectively manage samples and associated data. We have high throughput, state-of-the art, integrated and modular clinical chemistry and immunochemistry analysers those are interphased to LIMS for direct electronic transcription of test results, hence eliminating even slightest chance of errors due to manual intervention. The samples are bi-directionally barcoded through LIMS, a major component of automation, where in the bar-coded information on the collection tubes can be accurately read by analysers. These barcodes are generated at the time of registration or sample collection itself where in tests are punched along with demographic details. The overall goal is to improve patient care through accuracy and consistency in laboratory analyses.”
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