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June 7, 1995

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

JAMA. 1995;273(21):1707-1708. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520450077040

The field of pathology and laboratory medicine continues to advance in terms of instrumentation and automation to provide laboratory information for patient care as well as in the application of new scientific knowledge to patient care. We highlight selected examples from both types of advances.

Automation began to be widely used in the larger centralized laboratories in the 1960s and 1970s. Since that time, essentially all of the high-volume analytical procedures have been successfully automated, including clinical chemistry, hematology counts and differential counts, and, more recently, coagulation and much of microbiology. The postanalytical reporting of the data has been automated by use of computer systems on-line to the analytical instruments. The one area of the laboratory that has resisted successful automation until recently is the "front end" or preanalytical area, ie, specimen handling, including centrifugation (when necessary) and removal of plasma or serum samples for the various tests. Thanks to

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