Does laboratory automation for the preanalytical phase improve data quality?
Our aim was to evaluate whether automation for the preanalytical phase improves data quality. Blood from 100 volunteers was collected into two vacuum tubes. One sample from each volunteer was respectively assigned to (G1) traditional processing, starting with centrifugation at 1200 g for 10 min, and (G2) the MODULAR PRE-ANALYTICALS EVO-MPA system. The routine clinical chemistry tests were performed in duplicate on the same instrument Cobas 6000 module. G1 samples were uncapped manually and immediately placed into the instrument. G2 samples were directly fed from the MPA system to the instrument without further staff intervention. At the end, (1) the G1 samples were stored for 6 h at 4 °C as prescribed in our accredited laboratory and (2) the G2 samples were stored for 6 h in the MPA output buffer. Results from G1 and G2, before and after storage, were compared. Significant increases were observed in G1 compared with G2 samples as follows: (1) before storage for alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), phosphate (P), magnesium (MG), iron (FE), and hemolysis index and (2) after storage for total cholesterol (COL), triglycerides (TG), total protein (TP), albumin (ALB), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine (CRE), uric acid (UA), ALP, pancreatic amylase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), g-glutamyltransferase (GGT), LDH, creatine kinase (CK), calcium (CA), FE, sodium (NA), potassium (K), and hemolysis index. Moreover, significant increases were observed in (3) G1-after versus G1-before storage samples for COL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, TG, TP, ALB, BUN, CRE, UA, AST, ALT, GGT, LDH, P, CA, MG, FE, NA, K, and hemolysis index and (4) G2-after versus G2-before storage only for BUN, AST, LDH, P, and CA. In conclusion, our results show that the MPA system improves the quality of laboratory testing.