Total laboratory automation is considered to be a game changer in the world of clinical laboratories. These innovative systems are revolutionising the way laboratories perform and are being rolled out in clinical labs around the world.
In this article, we’re going to outline the pros and cons of total laboratory automation (TLA) and highlight how it may impact microbiology.
What Is Total Laboratory Automation?
Total laboratory automation is an innovative system that is designed to seamlessly automate manual processes and highly repetitive tasks in a laboratory setting.
Software, laboratory instruments and automated equipment including robotics are custom-built to meet the needs of the laboratory. Once they have been successfully implemented, minimal human intervention is required.
What Are The Benefits Of Total Laboratory Automation?
Lie most technological breakthroughs, total laboratory automation has a wide range of benefits. For example, TLA systems can significantly increase efficiency by reducing human errors, improving the speed of testing procedures and allowing for a higher quantity of repetitive tasks to be carried out at one time.
Total laboratory automation also ensures consistent quality by improving accuracy and reducing questionable results. In addition, total laboratory automation can reduce laboratory spending costs in the long run by eliminating costly manmade mistakes and reducing the need for more laboratory staff members.
Are There Any Downsides To TLA Systems?
Despite being beneficial for laboratories, including microbiology laboratories, total laboratory automation also has its downsides. The introduction of a streamlined automated way of working will significantly change the landscape of a busy lab by reducing the need for as many team members.
This may also lead to the microbiology industry having few clinical laboratory experts who are skilled and knowledgeable in specific processes.
Another downside to total laboratory automation is the high cost of installing and implementing the system. Changes will have to be made to the clinical laboratory to make space for the large hardware required.
From powerful air conditioning units to soundproofing, the environmental modifications required to install a TLA system will be costly. As is the TLA system itself! The laboratory will also have to pay for ongoing maintenance and supplies needed to successfully run the total laboratory automation.
As well as the high installation costs, the implementation of a TLA system will also be disruptive to the laboratory. Implementing a TLA system requires in-depth planning and may take weeks or even months to fully complete. This can be incredibly disruptive to the team working in the clinical laboratory.
How Will It Impact The Microbiology Industry?
Total laboratory automation systems are becoming increasingly popular within clinical microbiology laboratories.
By automating sample handling and preparation, improving data management and automating overall workflow with the use of integrated instruments, robotics and mechanisation, TLA systems offer a wide range of benefits for microbiology laboratories.
One of the biggest impacts is the improved speed and efficiency of results. Total laboratory automation systems also enable microbiologists and laboratory technicians to improve their identification and testing procedures, whilst increasing the speed of achieving desired results.
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