Home Healthcare and Life Sciences From Data Collection to Insights: How Automation Transforms Laboratory Operations Through Instrument Integration

From Data Collection to Insights: How Automation Transforms Laboratory Operations Through Instrument Integration

From Data Collection to Insights (1)

In 2022 alone, the U.S. laboratory market was valued at $93 billion, with over 319,000 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certified laboratories. Given these impressive numbers, the integration of automation and cutting-edge technologies has become essential for elevating the efficiency of laboratory operations. This integration impacts multiple operational fields, from data collection to visualizing insights.

In this article, we’ll explore the key tools used in laboratory automation, define the benefits and challenges, and provide three real-life examples of automation in laboratory operations for well-known medical organizations.

What are the key components of laboratory operations automation? 

Automation in laboratory operations includes the use of robotics, AI, ML, and other tools to streamline workflows, reduce mundane tasks and manual intervention, and enhance data accuracy. Below is a breakdown of the specific domains where each technology can be utilized:

  • Robotics

Automated robotic systems handle mundane and repetitive tasks in laboratories, such as sample preparation, pipetting, and sorting. This reduces human error and frees up personnel for more value-added tasks.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices and sensors collect and transmit data from various instruments, creating a connected ecosystem that enhances data flow and integration.

  • AI and ML Systems

AI and ML tools analyze massive amounts of data with high precision and speed. They assist in pattern detection and extracting insights that might go unnoticed due to the complexity of data processing.

  • LIMS

Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) manage data, samples, and workflows. LIMS act as a centralized platform for data storage, analysis, and reporting.

Ensuring seamless connection and communication between these technologies is crucial for:

Enhanced control: Real-time data monitoring allows for immediate adjustments and interventions.

Enhanced throughput: Streamlined workflows increase the number of experiments and analyses conducted in a given time.

What are the benefits of laboratory process automation?

Laboratory operations automation significantly impacts organizational efficiency, especially in data processing. Here are some of the key benefits for organizations:

  • Cost savings 

Streamlining processes and reducing manual labor can lead to significant cost savings.

  • Scalability

Automation allows laboratories to scale operations easily, handling increased workloads without compromising on quality.

  • Increased efficiency

Automated systems perform tasks faster and more accurately than humans, enhancing overall laboratory efficiency.

Here at Kanda, we draw upon decades of experience in custom software development to help your organization realize real-time cost savings, scalability and optimal performance. With the scale and complexity of modern-day laboratory operations, automation is a must for those who want to stay ahead of the curve. 

What are the challenges and considerations of laboratory process automation?

While the benefits of automation and integration are clear, here are some challenges to consider:

  • Initial investment

The cost of implementing automation technologies can be high. Laboratories must first evaluate the return on investment (ROI) and long-term benefits. For example, small-scale automated robotic systems typically range from $100,000 to $300,000, while larger setups can exceed $1 million.

  • Lack of talent

Successful implementation requires investments in training or hiring experts.

  • Interoperability

Integrating instruments from different manufacturers can be challenging. Standardized protocols and interfaces are needed to ensure seamless communication.

  • Data vulnerability

Increased connectivity may lead to the risk of data breaches. Ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is essential.

Laboratory automation: 3 use cases

Below we’ve broken down 3 use cases for some well-known medical organizations that successfully implemented laboratory operations automation in their daily routine. 

Use Case #1: Pfizer

Pfizer has implemented an advanced approach to processing large volumes of clinical trial data using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA). These tools enabled their team to process data about 90% faster, enhancing operational efficiency. 

Additionally, Pfizer deployed RPA bots to validate the sources of product claims, a task essential for ensuring the accuracy of public statements about their products. 

This automation reduced the cycle time of this process by nearly 35% and improved the consistency and quality of reviews, saving Pfizer 30,000 hours annually.

Use Case #2: Mayo Clinic

Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML), part of Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, enhanced its operations by implementing a new sort automation system. 

The system processes approximately 6,000 test tubes per hour, doubling throughput and reducing mis-sorts from 20–30 specimens per day to zero. 

The system’s implementation also eliminated the need for additional full-time employees, contributing to cost savings and ensuring accurate and timely test results.

Use Case #3: ACM Medical Laboratory (Unity Health Systems)

ACM Medical Laboratory, a division of Unity Health Systems in Rochester, New York, implemented Siemens’ ADVIA WorkCell automation solution to manage its rapidly increasing test volume efficiently.

This automation solution eliminated the need for additional staff and reduced the potential for errors by 81.25%, highlighting the substantial impact of automation on laboratory operations.

Wrapping It Up

This article explored the key areas of laboratory automation, defined its benefits and challenges, and provided three real-life examples of automation in laboratory operations for medical organizations. By adopting these advancements, laboratories can not only improve their operational efficiency but also make significant contributions to the scientific community and beyond.

With our expertise in implementing and maintaining automation systems across various fields, Kanda can help you learn how your laboratory can benefit from automation and instrument integration. 

Sharpen your company’s competitive edge by contacting us today to ensure your operations are optimized for the future.

Back to All Posts