Standard Article

Automation in the Clinical Laboratory

Clinical Chemistry

  1. Richard A. McPherson

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0504

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

McPherson, R. A. 2006. Automation in the Clinical Laboratory. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Total laboratory automation (TLA) is an approach to laboratory instrumentation that replaces human operators with robotic devices for the performance of highly repetitive tasks in the preparation and transport of specimens. TLA will consolidate the control and oversight for multiple different analytical instruments to a smaller number of operators, thus reducing the costs of labor in laboratory testing. Benefits of TLA include reduction of human errors in specimen handling and improvements in overall process control, including faster turn-around-times (TAT) from specimen collection to test result reporting. Possible detriments include very high costs for equipment installation and disruption of workforces trained in existing technologies. Most clinical laboratories will soon face a decision about implementing TLA (or portions of it) to reduce operating costs in order to offset falling reimbursements for medical services.