Lab Automation Applied in Clinical Laboratories

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Laboratory automation is becoming more prevalent in laboratories today. Standardizing lab automation in the lab takes the place of lab technicians performing manual processes. Implementing automation in the lab relieves lab technicians from the tedium and allows them to attend to more important specialized tasks. Automating processes in the lab has proven to increase productivity and efficiency, and most importantly, virtually eliminates human error. “Following the installation of automation error reduction rates exceed 70%, while staff time per specimen collection is reduced by over 10%. Patient safety is increased by an average 50% reduction in specimen turnaround time directly attributable to automation.”1


Clinical laboratories, in particular, are faced with the tedious task of labeling and processing many tubes each day. Inevitably, tubes are mislabeled and misidentified throughout the process. Not only does correcting these error waste valuable time, but it can also compromise patient safety- “Specimen labeling errors can lead to incorrect diagnoses, unnecessary treatment, and other adverse patient care effects.”2 Correcting mislabeled and misidentified tubes is costly – “A conservative estimate for the total cost of mislabeled specimens is about $280,000 per million specimens tested, Hawker said.”2


The Scinomix VX Series Automated Vial Handling Systems have been implemented in numerous clinical labs to help with the everyday struggles and frustrations that come with hand labeling and processing tubes. The 1044 Sci-Print VX2 and 1061 Sci-Print VXL are fully automated tube and vial labeling systems that label a wide variety of tubes used in clinical laboratories. The labeling systems not only label tubes and vials, but can also fill, print and read 2D barcode, and rack tubes.


Patient samples require specific identifiers such as name of patient, date of birth, requisition number, and barcodes. The Sci-Print VX2 and Sci-Print VXL are compatible with excel worklists and LIMS systems. The user can input existing data from a worklist or LIMS system to print on the tube. The systems print text, barcodes (2D Matrix, Code 39, Code 128, and several others), and images.


The manual task of hand labeling and processing tubes in a clinical laboratory is just one example of how lab automation is applied in the life science industry. There are many different processes in the lab that can be streamlined through automation to improve productivity and efficiency. Lab automation companies understand the burdens lab users are faced with and are constantly seeking new ways to help them improve their processes to make their jobs easier and more efficient.





  1. Felder, Robin. Dec 1, 2014. Clinical Laboratory News


  1. Sheila K. Coffman. August 11, 2011. American Society for Clinical Pathology.