Microbiology testing labs are constantly facing the challenge of how to increase efficiency, eliminate unnecessary costs, and reduce turnaround time to results. With an increased need for rapid testing with short turnaround times, this has become quite challenging. The only solution is to streamline the laboratory workflow while maintaining full sample and results traceability.
In the past, laboratory technicians spent hours preparing culture media, preparing sample buffers, and manually handling one sample at a time. Over time, some of these activities became a bit easier, with the offer of prepared media and buffers and multi-channel pipetting for handling 8-12 samples at once. However, these came at a cost to the laboratory and still did not improve efficiency significantly. In addition, laboratory technicians still had to manually prepare samples and count colonies after incubation then manually enter results into a database to generate a report, taking significant time and prone to error whether in pipetting, counting, or data entry.
With recent advances in technology, these traditional, labor-intensive processes can be transitioned to more automated, streamlined workflows. By moving to automation and specifically moving to PCR automation rather than traditional plating, 4 main benefits can be gained. The increased workflow is due to the following