Clinical laboratory automation: a case study

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Claudia Archetti
Alessandro Montanelli
Dario Finazzi
Luigi Caimi
Emirena Garrafa *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Emirena Garrafa |


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.

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