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Inside the Lab Technology and innovation, Profession, Microbiology and immunology, Training and education, Laboratory management

People versus Machines?

At a Glance

  • Although it has been used for some time in other disciplines, automation is a recent entry into the race for better microbiology
  • Not only can it take the pressure off strained staff, but it can also provide certain answers that are faster or more accurate than the manual equivalents
  • It can’t be used in isolation, though; human beings must review and assess the results of automated laboratory tests
  • Only with thoughtful application of automation, continuous support by industry, and appropriate investment in the human workforce can microbiology services improve

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About the Author

Simon Rattenbury

Simon Rattenbury is Head of Laboratory Service in HSL Microbiology at The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and scientific lead London for Health Services Laboratories, UK.

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