How does laboratory automation empower PAs?

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Written by Hilary Haefner, PA (ASCP)CM

When lab professionals hear the word automation they might jump to the conclusion that they will lose their job or parts of their job. The reality is, that while the duties and roles may change as there are advancements in technology, there will always be a role for lab professionals, Pathologists’ Assistant and Pathologists in the lab. 

The main impact of automation that drives its development and adoption is consistency. Consistency is valuable in a Pathology lab because it delivers benefits across quality, timing, cost and reliability. However, the pursuit of consistency in the lab must be balanced with the inherent variety of specimens that the lab is tasked with analyzing. FormaPath is extremely mindful of figuring out which processes can be automated so that more time can be dedicated to more important and complex tasks.

For example, AdiPress automates a lymph node dissection - a crucial step in cancer staging, but also a messy, time-consuming task that can take anywhere from twenty minutes to ninety minutes depending on the specimen. What if instead of spending that variable amount of time hunting for lymph nodes, a Pathologist Assistant or Pathologist could take the sections that they need for a colon cancer case and let the AdiPress machine do the rest of the work, allowing them to move on to a different task faster?  With a two minute run-time, AdiPress brings consistency to lymph node dissection. AdiPress allows the grosser to entirely submit the peri-colonic fat, ensuring that no lymph node is missed. The result leaves the Pathologists’ Assistant and Pathologist with predictable block counts and more time and energy to spend on more complex, pressing tasks without sacrificing quality. Also, the surgeons will be happy with their lymph node recovery statistics leading to better quality of patient care! 

The constraints on lab performance are real - there are only so many hours in the day and only so many trained professionals available and willing to do the work.  Automation of the more mundane and time consuming aspects of the job can open up mental capacity and time to do the more complex tasks throughout the day without sacrificing consistency in quality. FormaPath is dedicated to designing products like the AdiPress to be used as a high-quality, time saving tool that will empower Pathologists’ Assistants and Pathologists to dedicate their time and talents to the most pressing tasks in the lab