An upcoming AACC conference, “Laboratory Automation: Smart Strategies, Successful Outcomes,” will advise clinical laboratories on making the most of automated testing systems. Clinical labs use automated systems to improve efficiency while producing consistent turnaround times to meet patient quality and safety needs, says Stephen Manzella, PhD, director of core laboratory and point-of-care testing at WellSpan York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, who served as a consultant for the conference. Automation is significant in that it connects lab instrumentation with clinical and financial information systems inside and outside of an organization, “to guide appropriate testing that is more efficient and cost effective,” he says.

Although laboratorians often think of lab automation in terms of middleware and contributions to Lean/Six Sigma initiatives in core laboratories, it actually involves other areas of a lab “and even extends beyond the four walls of the lab,” notes Manzella.

Laboratorians who attend “Laboratory Automation: Smart Strategies, Successful Outcomes,” on December 4-5 in Orlando, Florida, will discover why it is important to get involved in informatics initiatives outside the laboratory and to stay clinically engaged. They’ll be able to identify what types of automation would best serve their institutions, and how it might fit into their strategic plans for quality and efficiency. Leveraging analytics to identify greater opportunities for continued improvement is another big takeaway, Manzella says.

Early-bird registration for the conference, which saves more than $100, is open until November 14. The 2-day conference, worth 11 ACCENT credits, is being generously sponsored by SCC Soft Computer and by Siemens.

Expert faculty for the conference plan to address​:

  • Heading off common chokepoints/errors in the pre-analytical process;
  • The importance of quality assurance/quality control in controlling the entire testing process;
  • Using process modification and Lean strategies to overcome automation roadblocks;
  • Setting goals for the automated core lab;
  • Tips for integrating automated microbiology and hematology solutions in the core clinical lab; and
  • Using information technology to reduce testing errors.

The conference will also highlight current innovations in automation options.

Labs are in a position to influence the entire scope of automated testing processes. In Manzella’s view, a lab’s involvement should begin at the time of order entry “until the clinician or patient uses the testing results for decision-making.”

Register for the conference.