Optimizing pre-analytical molecular workflows with automation

Despite growing demand for testing, laboratory sustainability remains at risk

Pre-analytical processing is one of the more burdensome parts
of a molecular workflow, and up to 75% of all laboratory error
occurs during this phase.1

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, laboratories face constant
pressure to reduce costs while needing to elevate the value they deliver. During preanalytic sample handling and processing, highly skilled technicians perform repetitive manual tasks, like vortexing, decapping, and labeling tubes.

These time-intensive steps not only cause bottlenecks, they increase the
opportunity for human error, put technicians at risk of repetitive motion injuries, and limit the availability of lab staff to perform more challenging tasks.

With the wide variety and volume of samples entering the laboratory for
molecular diagnostic testing, complex and error-prone processes must be
streamlined if labs want to free-up staff and elevate their value.

Area of Focus

Four areas of focus to enhance pre-analytical efficiency:
  • Automation can eliminate virtually all pre-analytical steps
    currently performed manually
  • Consolidation of multiple sample types and tests into one
    system can simplify and streamline processing
  • Integration with leading analytical systems and overarching
    IT solutions can create efficient end-to-end workflows
  • Standardization of workflows can improve ease of use and
    allow for predictable and efficient turnaround times
The value of end-to-end automation in molecular testing

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, laboratories need to find ways
to elevate the value they deliver. Automation helps labs to achieve this on
several fronts—lowering operational cost, improving capacity, performance,
and service quality,2 and reducing error caused by manual processing.

In a molecular laboratory, cross-contamination can happen at any time—
especially during manual scanning, aliquoting, sample preparation, and
reagent preparation.3-5 Errors during critical pre-analytical stages can affect
the laboratory’s reputation and the perception of the value they provide.
Pre-analytical automation offers the potential to eliminate  human errors
associated with pipetting.6

The ability to consolidate and process a wide variety of samples in high
volume with minimal manual steps brings a new level of efficiency to
molecular workflows. Streamlining and standardizing testing with a dedicated
molecular pre-analytical automation creates a value-adding end-to-end
solution that can increase confidence in results and ensure more predictable
turnaround times—a win for the laboratory, their customers, and patients.

End of testing



Watch industry experts discuss ways to prevent pre-analytical error in this webinar:

Pre-Analytical Errors: An Overview and Approach to Prevention

In this webinar,  Joe El-Khoury, Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC, FACB, shares important, applicable information about pre-analytical errors and their effect on laboratory medicine.

Learn how you can revolutionize your approach to molecular pre-analytical processing


Streamlining and simplifying your day-to-day operations

As laboratories look for ways to add value, the integration of a pre-analytical
automation solution can eliminate time-consuming manual processes, allow
a greater number of samples to be processed with less error, and free-up
staff to focus on more meaningful work.

With unprecedented efficiency and a focus on value, laboratories can meet
today’s testing demands and better position themselves for a sustainable
and successful tomorrow.


Roche has a vision for the future of laboratory
testing—the Molecular Work Area.

Discover how next-generation pre-analytical automation,
integrated with Roche’s industry-leading systems, can elevate laboratories of all sizes
to a new level of speed and efficiency.

Start your journey toward a more sustainable tomorrow.
Visit today.


  1. Hammerling JA. A Review of Medical Errors in Laboratory Diagnostics and Where We Are Today. Laboratory Medicine. 2012;43(2): 41–44.
  2. De Capitani, C, Marocchi A, Tolio T. Automation of the Pre-Analytical Phase: A Performance Evaluation of Alternative Scenarios. JALA: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation. 2002;7(2): 89–93.
  3. Vermehren J, Stelzl E, Maasoumy B, et al. Multicenter Comparison Study of both Analytical and Clinical Performance across Four Roche Hepatitis C Virus RNA Assays Utilizing Different Platforms. J Clin Microbiol. 2017;55(4):1131-1139.
  4. Maasoumy B, Bremer B, Lehmann P, et al. Commutability and concordance of four hepatitis B virus DNA assays in an international multicenter study. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2017;10(8):609-618.
  5. Adams P, Vancutsem E, Nicolaizeau C, et all. Multicenter evaluation of the cobas® HIV-1 quantitative nucleic acid test for use on the cobas® 4800 system for the quantification of HIV-1 plasma viral load.
  6. cobas® prime Pre-analytical System Performance Specification.