Rohit Shroff provides insight from customer success stories on the benefits of automation in the clinical laboratory. Specifically, he answers the question “what can automation do for me” by illustration of the impact that these solutions have every day ... showing how sample prep automation has overcome workflow bottlenecks in the clinical LC-MS lab with real world tangible results. He shares multiple success stories of labs improving their client services by adopting automation to address the hurdles of productivity, implementation speed, compliance, reproducibility, efficiency, and employee satisfaction and retention.
Automated sample preparation for LC-MS in clinical labs provides:
1. Increased productivity
A tailored solution was developed for the drug testing lab NICC (Belgium) by Tecan in partnership with Phenomenex. The combination of expertise in automation from Tecan and capability in chemistry and application development from Phenomenex provided a “truly hands off tool” to the lab. Sample preparation time was reduced by 80% compared to an existing manual procedure, allowing other manual tasks to be performed in parallel.
2. Fast implementation through existing applications
Proven automation applications exist for extraction of cortisol, automated solid phase extraction (SPE) method development and β-Gluc depletion, reducing the design time in your lab. Combined with the 96-well Strata method development plate from Phenomenex, the Tecan buffer creation wizard allows for a lab to screen four different chemistries, three different solvent concentrations for elution and eight different pHs across the column in a single experiment.
In addition to speed and economics, compliance is critical to a successful solution for the clinical lab. Freedom EVOware® provides 21 CFR Part 11 compliant software plus automated traceability with confidence through TouchTools, a software suite for graphic user interface guided instrument operation.
4. Reduced assay variability
Scientists and doctors at the University Hospital of Padova (Italy) are using the Freedom EVO® 150 to automatically prepare samples for LC-MS monitoring of immunosuppressant drugs in transplant patients. Tecan automation reduced the assay variability from less than 10% to zero, showing how critical these assays are to enabling better patient services.
5. Improved operations efficiency
Improved efficiency in Vitamin testing allows the Medical Laboratories of Reiner de Graat Hospital (The Netherlands) to see significant savings on reagent costs due to the scaled down volume requirements. In addition, automation freed up staff to perform other activities.
6. Increased employee satisfaction and retention
Employees feel more engaged doing more meaningful tasks rather than repetitive, boring pipetting. This tedious, manual work often leads to unhappy employees and results in high turnover rates in the lab. Precision Toxicology (USA) has seen a dramatic increase in employee satisfaction and retention by implementing automated removal of β-Gluc from hydrolyzed pain management urine samples.
“Tecan’s instruments are reliable, robust and allow us the competitive edge of having the lowest costs per test in the industry while providing reliable diagnostic results” says Richard Thomas, CSO, Precision Toxicology. “At the end, patients benefit from fast diagnosis so their treatments can start early.”
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About the author
Dr Manuel Bauer
Dr. Manuel Bauer joined Tecan Switzerland in 2013 and is responsible as Senior Market & Product Manager for Tecan's automated MS sample preparation offering and the Tecan D300e digital dispenser. He studied Biology at the University of Würzburg and Free University of Berlin. During his PhD at the ETH Zürich he focused on systems biology, and has also applied various MS-based proteomics techniques during his post doc at the Biozentrum Basel.