Automated transport and sorting system in a large reference laboratory: Part 2. Implementation of the system and performance measures over three years

Charles D. Hawker, William L. Roberts, Susan B. Garr, Leslie T. Hamilton, John R. Penrose, Edward R. Ashwood, Ronald L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Our laboratory implemented a major automation system in November 1998. A related report describes a 4-year process of evaluation and planning leading to system installation. This report describes the implementation and performance results over 3 years since the system was placed into use. Methods: Project management software was used to track the project. Turnaround times of our top 500 tests before and after automation were measured. We compared the rate of hiring of employees and the billed unit per employee ratio before and after automation by use of linear regression analysis. Finally, we analyzed the financial contribution of the project through an analysis of return on investment. Results: Since implementation, the volume of work transported and sorted has grown to >15 000 new tubes and >25 000 total tubes per day. Median turnaround time has decreased by an estimated 7 h, and turnaround time at the 95th percentile has decreased by 12 h. Lost specimens have decreased by 58%. A comparison of pre- and post-implementation hiring rates of employees estimated a savings of 33.6 employees, whereas a similar comparison of ratios of billed units per employee estimated a savings of 49.1 employees. Using the higher figure, we estimated that the $4.02 million cost of the project would be paid off ∼4.9 years subsequent to placing the system into daily use. Conclusions: The overall automation project implemented in our laboratory has contributed considerably to improvement of key performance measures and has met our original project objectives. © 2002 American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1761-1767
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Chemistry
Volume48
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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