Clinical laboratory automation: a case study

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  • 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.
  • Emirena Garrafa
    Unique Laboratory, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Italy.http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4761-6892

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.

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