Role of Laboratory Automation in Promoting Patient Safety

Role of Laboratory Automation in Promoting Patient Safety

By Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Blog

The global laboratory automation market is evaluated at US$3,638.769 million for the year 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.55% to reach the market size of US$6,055.218 million by the year 2026. The use of equipment to execute laboratory procedures with little human intervention is referred to as lab automation. Automation may be utilised for anything from a single step in an experimental procedure to the full workflow. Robotics, computers, and software are currently used in a wide range of products.

laboratory automation market

Medical diagnostic laboratories, which frequently run the same tests over and again with standardized procedures, stand to profit greatly from automation. The automation of diagnostic laboratory operations has several advantages, including better consistency, greater laboratory staff efficiency, higher throughput, decreased turnaround time, and increased laboratory technician safety. These advantages have become even more relevant in the last year, as laboratories have been under intense pressure to clear testing backlogs, speed turnaround, and boost throughput while maintaining pre-pandemic staffing levels or lower in order to preserve social distancing measures.

Laboratory automation plays an important role in increasing reproducibility by minimizing data variability caused by human factors and the possibility for contamination induced by sample handling. Data variance induced by differences in procedure performance may go unnoticed during the experiment, but it will be visible in data sets and even published findings. Humans are prone to growing mental tiredness, physical weariness, and diversions, especially in diagnostic situations when the same activities are done again. Thus, automation lowers this unpredictability by minimizing the workload dependence on error-prone humans.

Lab automation improves laboratory efficiency by increasing worker productivity. The main advantage of automated operations is the amount of time saved, which can then be spent on other research. Each laboratory technician can perform many more tests due to automation.

Furthermore, automation improves laboratory safety by decreasing researcher exposure to samples by enabling automated technology to do the work. There is less risk of inadvertent exposure to toxic chemicals or possibly infected diagnostic specimens when humans handle fewer samples.

Pharmaceutical companies increasing their investment in R&D, stringent regulation in the healthcare sector, increased healthcare infrastructure in emerging nations, and the expansion of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are all driving market growth. The market, however, is restricted by sluggish adoption of automation technologies in SMEs, as well as higher production and installation costs.

Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Companies Increasing R&D Investments in the Pharmaceutical Sector Will Fuel Market Expansion

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian drugs and pharmaceuticals sector received a total of US$ 17.99 billion in FDI from April 2000 to March 2021. According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the European pharmaceutical sector invested an estimated € 37,500 million in R&D in 2019. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors account for 18.7 % of overall corporate R&D investment globally, according to the 2019 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. Furthermore, partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare stakeholders for R&D into drugs would boost the usage of lab automation thus driving the market growth.

Increased Healthcare Infrastructure in Emerging Nations Will Drive the Market Growth

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies more than half of the global demand for various vaccines, 40% of the generic demand for the United States, and 25% of all medications for the United Kingdom. In 2019, the Indian biotechnology sector was worth US$ 64 billion, and it is anticipated to grow to US$ 150 billion by 2025. The domestic market is anticipated to triple in the next decade, according to the Indian Economic Survey 2021. The domestic pharmaceutical industry in India is predicted to be around US$ 42 billion in 2021, rising to US$ 65 billion by 2024 and expected to reach US$ 120-130 billion by 2030. Therefore, the increasing healthcare infrastructure in emerging nations will drive the demand for laboratory automation in developing countries.

Slow Automation Adoption in Small and Medium-Sized Laboratories Can Restrict Growth

The major barrier for laboratories wanting to integrate automation technology into their laboratory is cost. Commercially available automation technology is costly, and customised equipment for specific protocols is even more expensive.  Cell culture is an example of a common, time-consuming procedure that has been used by researchers for generations. Although equipment to automate cell growth is available and can save many hours of researcher effort, it remains tantalizingly out of reach for most laboratories. These components can cost more than $1 million for a complete process system, putting them out of reach for the vast majority of academic laboratories. Many small and medium-sized laboratories also find it challenging to invest in automation due to financial barriers. The high maintenance and service expenses associated with laboratory informatics solutions are also a significant impediment. The cost of maintaining IT systems exceeds the cost of the program itself. Furthermore, a lack of risk-taking capabilities and data on the cost-effectiveness of automation solutions for small and medium-sized laboratories are impeding the growth of the lab automation market.

The North American Region Will Be a Prominent Player

The region's significant market share can be attributed to the well-developed healthcare infrastructure and extensive adoption of novel revolutionary technology. Furthermore, the presence of major industry players in the area is likely to increase market demand. However, throughout the forecasted period, the Asia Pacific area is expected to see significant progress. Increased expenditures in healthcare infrastructure, increased use of sophisticated technology inside hospitals, and a rapidly rising R&D are expected to boost demand in the area throughout the predicted period.

The Impact of the Outbreak of COVID-19 on the Laboratory Automation Market

COVID-19 has compelled diagnostic laboratories to scale up services and extend testing capabilities, putting additional pressure on physical infrastructure as well as data management systems. In the midst of a global pandemic, errors in processing test results might have significant repercussions for disease transmission and undermine public faith in testing methods. Diagnostic laboratories were under intense pressure, with growing team capacity and quickly extending testing menus while dealing with labour shortages and the requirement to maintain safe, socially distant working conditions. Those diagnostic laboratories that have adopted lab automation have been among the most effective in reducing interruption and even prospering in these unforeseen settings. Forward-thinking laboratories have been able to swiftly return to near-full production while working in line with local social distance standards thanks to the flexibility that automated solutions provide.