Total lab automation: Beckman Coulter launches new solution

By Leila Hawkins
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Clinical diagnostics firm Beckman Coulter has launched the DxA 5000 Fit, a new workflow automation solution for medium-sized labs in Europe that run fewer than 5,000 tests a day. 

By launching this new tool, Beckman Coulter becomes the first diagnostics company to offer workflow automation for labs of this size. 

What is total laboratory automation?

The DxA 5000 Fit is a total laboratory automation solution (TLA), a type of automation that enables many analysers to perform different types of tests on different sample matrices, all of which are physically integrated into the same system. Automation doesn’t always comprise all parts of the analytical process, but TLA combines the full automatisation of preanalytics, analytics, and postanalytics - meaning that specimens are processed, tested, and even stored with little intervention from the user. 

Lab tests were up by 245% in 2020, 55% of which were SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests. Demand for COVID-19-related testing is expected to continue through 2021 and potentially into 2022. Along with existing problems such as a shortage of lab technicians and financial pressures on hospitals and health systems, clinical labs are facing intense pressures. Additionally the TLA solutions that cater to labs processing high-sample volumes are out of reach for smaller volume labs due to space requirements and infrastructure constraints.

Automation for all labs

Dr Peter Soltani, SVP and General Manager in haematology, urinalysis & workflow information technology solutions at Beckman Coulter, says that this is the reason the company developed the DxA 5000 Fit. “At Beckman Coulter, we believe that medium-size labs should be able to leverage the benefits of automation to address their challenges. Just because your lab is not processing a higher number of samples, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the benefits of intelligent laboratory automation and settle for a marginally automated workcell-plus solution" he says. 

“This is why we have launched DxA 5000 Fit, the first compact workflow automation solution that’s the right fit for mid-volume labs because automation should be for all labs.”

The new solution offers mid-sized labs the same benefits as larger-volume laboratories: 

⦁ Comprehensive workflow automation to reduce up to 80% of manual steps through pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical automation, preserving human resources to do higher-value clinical work

⦁ Intelligent routing with dynamically calculated route planning, with STATs always prioritised to deliver results faster

⦁ Flexible design that can be adapted to meet a mid-volume lab’s space and infrastructure constraints

“When we look at automation for our labs it's a balancing act between system throughput capacity, test menu and footprint of the system" explains Dr Afruj Ruf, Managing Director of Integrated Pathology Solutions LLP, at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in the north of England. 

"At the Harrogate District Hospital site, we knew that a large automated system will be too large and excessive and a standalone system doesn't give us the streamlined workflow we want. What we needed was a compact automation system that reduced the number of steps, requiring minimum human intervention and generated a valid result at first pass so that our lab professionals are not moving samples around but performing the valuable scientific tasks they are trained for.

"From its compact footprint and minimising manual work by 80%, to intelligent routing that makes sure our acute patients get their results faster than routine ones, the DxA 5000 Fit was just the right fit for us."  


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