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Articles tagged with: Automation –

TLA in, volume up—micro labs take stock

May 2017—Rise of the Robots. Disruption. Humans Need Not Apply. “The Future of Work.” A flood of books and articles in the past several months make the argument that service industries in the U.S. hover on the brink of total automation and humans will have to figure out how to adapt. Forty-five years ago, when Michael R. Jacobs, MD, PhD, started in microbiology, people fantasized about microbiology reaching this stage.

Laboratory automation: more than moving from here to there

August 2015—Move it, monitor it, manage it: Hardware and middleware, modules, and interfaces dominate the developments from at least five manufacturers of systems in this year’s product guide to laboratory automation systems and workcells—Beckman Coulter, Siemens, Sarstedt, Inpeco, and Cerner. The guide also includes four systems from a company new to the guide—IDS in Kumamoto, Japan—and additions from Aim Labs, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Roche, and Beckman Coulter.

Labs solve price, space squeeze to welcome TLA

May 2015—After several years of watching their European counterparts have all the fun, a handful of American microbiology laboratories are going live with systems touted as providing total automation of diagnostic bacteriology. The systems automate how specimens are barcoded, plated, and inoculated, then move the plates on a track to an incubator, photograph them at a preset incubation time, discard or keep the plates as appropriate, and offer up the digital images for interpretation by medical technologists viewing them on computer screens.

The inside track in AP automation: new product guide

February 2015—Tissue processors, tissue embedders, microtomes, slide stainers—we tackled them all in our first-ever product guide to anatomic pathology automation. (Yes, we realize most tissue embedders are largely manual but included them because they are vital to the automated process.) Zeroing in on what questions to ask the vendors—that is, knowing what you, the readers, need to know—was no simple task.

Seamless automation: within reach for AP?

August 2014—A familiar optical illusion uses a drawing of a vase that makes your eyes play tricks. First you see the vase, then two faces gazing at each other, then again, the vase…two faces…ad infinitum. It’s a concept that comes to mind when thinking about “tracking” in the anatomic pathology laboratory. Does it refer to a physical track—a conveyor belt to automatically transport and sort specimens—or to a system for “tracking”—that is, electronically keeping tabs on specimens?

Microbiology automation: finding the right mix

April 2014—Talk to a few microbiology laboratories about why they feel the need to automate and you hear common themes: people, space, quality, and, most of all, time to detection. Microbiology may be late to join the bandwagon, but whether laboratories are making partial or full-scale moves to automate, they are dramatically making up for lost time, in all senses of the phrase. That’s because turnaround time savings are no longer measured in minutes. “Our goal is to be able to give some of these answers out in one to four hours rather than 24 hours, or much longer for some culture-based methods,” says Randall T. Hayden, MD, director of clinical and molecular microbiology at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Laboratory automation possibilities give lift to labs

March 2014—Tracks, modules, rules, consolidations, connections. Marketers of lab automation systems and workcells are busy turning out and fine-tuning what labs of all sizes need in the face of staff shortages, belt-tightening, growing workloads, and the need to implement a new set of best practices as payment shifts from volume-based to value-based. “Automation systems that provide answers to these challenges will help fulfill the original promise of laboratory automation and become the new standards of automation innovation,” says Jeremy Kiger, marketing manager for lab automation and IT, Roche Diagnostics.

Labs weighing pros, cons of micro TLA

January 2014—Sleek specimen processing instruments, often with sophisticated robotics, are features of many larger microbiology laboratories, despite the longstanding belief that microbiology is too complex to automate. But total laboratory automation (TLA) has not yet gained a foothold in the U.S., even though there are several installations in microbiology laboratories in Europe. Could 2014 be the year that total microbiology laboratory automation comes into its own?

AP tracking: an eagle eye on blocks and slides

February 2013—A high-tech blend of hall monitor, bloodhound, and lost and found, tracking systems to manage tissue specimens, blocks, and slides have gradually been taking root as part of an automated workflow in some anatomic pathology laboratories. As manual labeling, logging, and data capture give way to bar coding and even radio frequency identification, it’s a revolution of sorts, but a quiet one.

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