In September 1956, the first automated blood analyzer was introduced at the first International Congress on Clinical Chemistry in New York City. Originally developed by the Pathology Department of Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the Technicon analyzer “took a small sample of blood and within 2.5 min measured the levels of urea, sugar and calcium.”i
Since that introduction, automated lab analyzers have evolved at a rapid pace, entering areas of the clinical laboratory many thought impossible to successfully automate. With the amount of available options on the market today, choosing whether to implement automation isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” proposition. More accurately, the question is “when?” “where?” and “how much do we need to automate?”
Automation in the blood bank promises many attractive benefits: increasing quality, reducing wasted time, optimizing blood product utilization, standardizing, reducing manual errors, freeing time for your personnel, and more. It can also present potential pitfalls—like increased downtime, higher upfront costs, and additional space considerations.