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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R.

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The “hospital central laboratory”: automation, integration and clinical usefulness

Martina Zaninotto
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, University-Hospital, Padova, Italy
/ Mario Plebani
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, University-Hospital, Padova, Italy
  • Leonardo Foundation, Abano Terme, Padova, Italy
Published Online: 2010-05-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2010.192


Recent technological developments in laboratory medicine have led to a major challenge, maintaining a close connection between the search of efficiency through automation and consolidation and the assurance of effectiveness. The adoption of systems that automate most of the manual tasks characterizing routine activities has significantly improved the quality of laboratory performance; total laboratory automation being the paradigm of the idea that “human-less” robotic laboratories may allow for better operation and insuring less human errors. Furthermore, even if ongoing technological developments have considerably improved the productivity of clinical laboratories as well as reducing the turnaround time of the entire process, the value of qualified personnel remains a significant issue. Recent evidence confirms that automation allows clinical laboratories to improve analytical performances only if trained staff operate in accordance with well-defined standard operative procedures, thus assuring continuous monitoring of the analytical quality. In addition, laboratory automation may improve the appropriateness of test requests through the use of algorithms and reflex testing. This should allow the adoption of clinical and biochemical guidelines. In conclusion, in laboratory medicine, technology represents a tool for improving clinical effectiveness and patient outcomes, but it has to be managed by qualified laboratory professionals.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:911–7.

Keywords: clinical laboratory automation; clinical laboratory benchmarking; consolidation; integration; laboratory professional; productivity

Corresponding author: Martina Zaninotto, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University-Hospital, 35126 Padova, Italy Phone: +390498213230, Fax: +390498218489,

Published Online: 2010-05-12

Published in Print: 2010-07-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 48, Issue 7, Pages 911–917, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2010.192, May 2010

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