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The impact of total automaton on the clinical laboratory workforce: a case study
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  • Yaser A Al Naam,
  • Salah H Elsafi,
  • Majed A Aljahdali,
  • Randa S Al Shaman,
  • Bader H Al-Qurouni,
  • Eidan M Al Zahrani
Yaser A Al Naam
Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences
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Salah H Elsafi
Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Majed A Aljahdali
Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences
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Randa S Al Shaman
King Salman Armed Forces Hospital Northwestern Region
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Bader H Al-Qurouni
King Fahd Military Medical Complex
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Eidan M Al Zahrani
Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences
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Abstract

Abstract: Background: There is significant concern that total automation can decrease the need for laboratory personnel at all levels. The objective of this study is to investigate the impact of total laboratory automation on the clinical laboratory workforce. Methods: A one-year data including demographical features of laboratory workforce and technical productivity of laboratory tests was provided by two medical laboratory departments of similar profile and different equipment setup, one adopting a total automation system and the other is utilizing discrete analysis system. The technical productivity of the two laboratories was compared and statistically tested. Results: A similar technical productivity per single laboratory worker was noted in the hematology section in each of the two sites with no significant difference (average odd radio = 0.9, p = 0.79). However, with total automation, the number of tests performed per single worker has increased to an average of 1.4 and 3.68 times at the total automated site in the clinical chemistry and serology sections respectively (p ≤ 0.001). Conclusion: TLA improves the productivity of the laboratory, leading to a decreased laboratory workforce. The laboratory workload has increased steadily therefore, the existing laboratory workforce, in the absence of automation, could not have been able to maintain current standards of service. Adoption of automation reduces repetitive manual labor, thereby allowing redefinition of the job roles of the laboratory workforce. TLA is ideal for laboratories that suffer from workforce shortages or managing high volume testing with less staff.