It’s no surprise that the healthcare industry sees a gradual increase on a global scale. With the increased demand for personalized medicine, the demand for diagnostics and the need for understanding drugs have increased by a significant amount.
There are advancements such as DNA sequencing and molecular imaging which cost a large sum. Labs performing this work are, however, not very large in size and the number of lab technicians is also not increasing in proportion to the demand of such work.
As a result of these market forces, various IT trends have arisen in laboratories. Let’s explore some of these recent trends.
Smaller Machines And Equipment Are Found In Labs
With smaller labs that have a few lab technicians, you need smaller machinery that is more automated than manual. Fluidics components supporting robotics are placed as close as possible to the samples to develop smaller instruments.
Instead of placing pumps and valves at the bottom of the instrument with dispensing devices to send fluid upwards, nowadays we have fluidic components that are so small, they can be placed on top of the instrument which removes the requirement for a dispensing device.
A Higher Throughput Is Expected
Manufacturers are attempting to increase the throughput of their equipment with the same power required as before. Robust stages can allow for the equipment to quickly switch to the next operation and increase the speed of the overall process of lab testing. Robotics built into lab equipment will remove the need for humans to monitor the shifts in operations, therefore, reducing errors such as carrying out incorrect tests, using the wrong samples, or mixing up the sample.
Electronic Data Recording Is Trending
Increased automation means an even greater amount of data generated by labs. Therefore, labs shift from paper to electronics such as electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs). Paper can no longer be a sufficient method to store and analyze so much data.
An ELN, for example, can access sample information from the laboratory instruments directly through programs that link the two together. It helps manage the flow of information, tasks, and materials between the various lab scientists and equipment smoothly and efficiently.
Another example is Studylog.com that allows you to record, store, visualize, analyze, and report your lab data and findings with no additional paper recording.
Clockspot is another tool that brings you the ease of measuring and managing timesheets of various lab experiments at a time with no need for any paper.
Like automation in the equipment, such electronic solutions to data collection also provide laboratories the opportunity to increase productivity and reduce costs and wastages.
Smaller Samples Serve The Purpose Well
With smaller samples of expensive chemicals, labs are able to cater to testing a wider variety of said chemicals at a lower cost. This is making the manufacturers of the equipment to reduce their costs of ownership. This is further leading to smaller sample sizes ranging from test-tubes to tiny wells in microtiter trays. Small positioner robotics can automate the accurate placement of samples in trays.
Automated analyzers can also use valves which can handle high pressure to make these smaller samples useful. Pressures are expected to increase from 30 psi to 50 to 80 psi with the increase in the use of piezo devices that provide more force than the currently more common solenoids.
There Are Simpler Fluidics
With the introduction of robotic technology, the lab equipment no longer hosts a complicated network of tubes. This reduces the chances of failure considerably in the form of leakages and mixing up of samples. It also removes the need for an employee to set up, monitor, and maintain the web of tubing in the first place.