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Clinical laboratory automation: a case study

Claudia Archetti, Alessandro Montanelli, Dario Finazzi, Luigi Caimi, Emirena Garrafa
  • Claudia Archetti
    Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, Italy
  • Alessandro Montanelli
    Unique Laboratory, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy
  • Dario Finazzi
    Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, Italy
  • Luigi Caimi
    Unique Laboratory, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Italy

Abstract

Background. This paper presents a case study of an automated clinical laboratory in a large urban academic teaching hospital in the North of Italy, the Spedali Civili in Brescia, where four laboratories were merged in a unique laboratory through the introduction of laboratory automation.
Materials and Methods. The analysis compares the preautomation situation and the new setting from a cost perspective, by considering direct and indirect costs. It also presents an analysis of the turnaround time (TAT). The study considers equipment, staff and indirect costs.
Results. The introduction of automation led to a slight increase in equipment costs which is highly compensated by a remarkable decrease in staff costs. Consequently, total costs decreased by 12.55%. The analysis of the TAT shows an improvement of nonemergency exams while emergency exams are still validated within the maximum time imposed by the hospital.
Conclusions. The strategy adopted by the management, which was based on re-using the available equipment and staff when merging the pre-existing laboratories, has reached its goal: introducing automation while minimizing the costs.

Keywords

laboratory automation; direct and indirect costs; cost analysis; staff; equipment; TAT.

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Submitted: 2017-03-17 16:35:41
Published: 2017-06-16 11:29:59
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Copyright (c) 2017 Claudia Archetti, Alessandro Montanelli, Dario Finazzi, Luigi Caimi, Emirena Garrafa

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