Automated Transport and Sorting System in a Large Reference Laboratory Part 1

Automated Transport and Sorting System in a Large Reference Laboratory Part 1

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Automated Transport and Sorting System in a Large Reference Laboratory: Part 1. Evaluation of Needs and Alternatives and Development of a Plan Charles D. Hawker, 1,2* Susan B. Garr, 1 Leslie T. Hamilton, 1 John R. Penrose, 1 Edward R. Ashwood, 1,2 and Ronald L. Weiss 1,2 Background: Our laboratory, a large, commercial, eso- teric reference laboratory, sought some form of total laboratory automation to keep pace with rapid growth of specimen volumes as well as to meet competitive demands for cost reduction and improved turnaround time. Methods: We conducted a systematic evaluation of our needs, which led to the development of a plan to implement an automated transport and sorting system. We systematically analyzed and studied our specimen containers, test submission requirements and tempera- tures, and the workflow and movement of people, specimens, and information throughout the laboratory. We performed an intricate timing study that identified bottlenecks in our manual handling processes. We also evaluated various automation options. Results: The automation alternative viewed to best meet our needs was a transport and sorting system from MDS AutoLab. Our comprehensive plan also included a new standardized transport tube; a centralized automated core laboratory for higher volume tests; a new “automa- tion-friendly” software system for order entry, tracking, and process control; a complete reengineering of our order-entry, handling, and tracking processes; and re- modeling of our laboratory facility and specimen pro- cessing area. Conclusions: The scope of this project and its potential impact on overall laboratory operations and perfor- mance justified the extensive time we invested (nearly 4 years) in a systematic approach to the evaluation, de- sign, and planning of this project. © 2002 American Association for Clinical Chemistry Our laboratory is a commercial esoteric reference labora- tory performing . 2000 different procedures with an average daily volume of . 18 000 accessions. We serve hospital clinical laboratories and other reference labora- tories in all 50 of the United States, as well as several other countries, and receive mostly secondary specimens that have already been processed. We have averaged a 20% increase in specimen volume annually for most of our 18 years of existence. This continual high growth rate and the competitive cost pressures inherent in the laboratory environment led us to consider the possibility of some form of total laboratory automation (TLA). 3 However, automation in a setting that has little routine clinical laboratory testing and in which 85% of all incoming specimens are either refrigerated or frozen presented major challenges. Virtually all previous TLA endeavors have involved
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2011 for the course HTEC 50 taught by Professor Hassel,patricia during the Spring '11 term at DeAnza College.

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Automated Transport and Sorting System in a Large Reference Laboratory Part 1

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