Total Laboratory Automation: What Is Gained, What Is Lost, and Who Can Afford It?

Clin Lab Med. 2019 Sep;39(3):371-389. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2019.05.002.


The first clinical microbiology laboratory in the United States adopted total automation for bacteriology processing in 2014. Since then, others have followed with installation of either the BD Kiestra TLA or the Copan WASPLab. This article discusses commercially available automated systems in the United States; why automation is needed; and quality improvements, efficiency, and cost savings associated with automation. After learning how these systems are used, gains and losses experienced, and how one can afford the most expensive equipment ever purchased for clinical microbiology laboratories, the question is, how can one afford not to purchase one of these microbiology automation systems?

Keywords: BD Kiestra TLA; Copan WASPLab; Microbiology automation; Microbiology cost savings; Microbiology efficiency; Microbiology quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Automation, Laboratory / economics*
  • Automation, Laboratory / standards*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms*