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Advancements in clinical chemistry automation

Laboratory automation is designed to maximize efficiency and minimize errors by integrating mechanical, electronic, and informatics tools to perform an ever-expanding variety of laboratory tasks. Following the installation of automation, error-reduction rates exceed 70 percent, while staff time per specimen collection is reduced by over 10 percent. Patient safety is increased by an average 50 percent reduction in specimen turnaround time directly attributable to automation.

The era of automation arrived with the introduction of the auto-analyzer, using continuous flow analysis, and the Robot Chemist that automated the traditional manual analytical steps. Successive generations of stand-alone analyzers increased analytical speed, offered the ability to test high volumes of patient specimens, and provided large assay menus.

The clinical biochemistry technology is reaching a new level, differing from where it was a decade ago, due to the aggressive development of instrument speed and precision. The technological innovations in clinical chemistry automation have aided the laboratories to create automated environment that enables fast, cost-efficient, and high-quality testing. These systems have helped to reduce the laboratory TAT (turnaround time) thus reducing the pressure of the technologists in providing the patient results much faster.

The clinical biochemistry auto-analyzers are the backbone of major diagnostic chains in the country. These analyzers are categorized as semi-automated and fully automated analyzers, which cater to different segments of small, medium, and big-sized laboratories and hospitals. Further, based on the number of tests, these fully automated analyzers are segmented as entry-level (100 T/h), medium-throughput (180–300 T/h) and high-throughput (400 and above) analyzers.

On hygiene level, a medium-throughput analyzer is expected to have features, such as on-board laundry, more reagent positions to perform a wider test menu, and emphasis on quality-control facilities. However, the key differentiator lies in the LIS/HIS connectivity with the instrument.

The laboratories and hospitals requiring high-throughput analyzers have appreciated the development of auto-hemolysis of whole-blood sample for HbA1C testing. Some more features, such as automated clot detection and contactless mixing of samples and reagents, have made it a clear-cut distinct feature of high-end advanced technological analyzers as against the simple entry-level automated analyzers.

The day-to-day development and innovations of software and information technologies are clearly visible in the IVD industry. Remote monitoring and integration of software has become much more advanced these days. Many of the new-generation analyzers come with fully functional remote diagnosis and user-friendly interface.

The A and A+ laboratories and hospitals are moving more and more toward the integrated clinical chemistry systems, which have improved the efficacy of the analytical phase of the clinical chemistry laboratory testing and has also reduced the manpower and the TAT.

However, laboratories today are looking for partners who not only provide clinical chemistry analyzers with all the abovesaid features and technological advancements but also a total laboratory solution to achieve their patient care and operational efficacy goals.

We at CPC Diagnostics have introduced entry-level automation in India through our flagship brand Turbochem 100. As a constant pioneer in clinical chemistry, we believe that we are ready for the next wave in clinical chemistry through our innovative solutions.

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