COVID-19 highlights long-standing specimen processing issues
As the number of laboratory tests continues to grow, with genetic testing and now COVID-19, clinical labs require an update. COVID-19 highlights long-standing specimen processing issues. Hangups in this area create a logjam that delays specimen testing.
Avoiding that logjam means using handheld or point of care devices, utilizing Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) software, robotic racks, and pneumatic tubes. Automation of the clinical lab analysis equipment continues, a necessity to keep up with increased testing and fewer medical technologists.
This trend drives the implementation of Lean technologies for continuous improvement. Lean applied to lab design encourages a direction away from batch processing to constant flow, streamlined inventory systems that reduce waste, use of robotic tracks to move specimens, and workbenches adaptable to fit different requirements. It provides uncrowded space to discourage overheating and easy maintenance of the automated analyzers.