Specimen processing is a part of a laboratory procedure that involves receiving, identifying, sorting, barcode labelling, preparation, and distribution of blood, urine, sputum, or other biological specimens. The specimen processing may include centrifugation of blood samples to obtain separate layers of blood components and thorough mixing of samples or specimens to ensure even distribution of components in the test sample. Specimen processing is also associated with clerical tasks such as recording, filing, storage, and computer processing of the clinical data. After completion of specimen processing, specimens are sent to different departments of pathology and laboratories for testing. The specimen processing mostly involves manual tasks and requires skilled professionals. It is a time-consuming process. For processing a large number of specimens per day, it is imperative for any laboratory to automate specimen-processing tasks, which would give enhanced outcomes within a short duration of time. Technological developments in clinical and pathological laboratories in the last decade have led to a significant transformation from discrete manual processes to fully automated systems. The automated specimen processing offers several advantages over the manual processing such as time- and cost-saving, improvement in the consistency of specimen processing, and minimizing the risk of laboratory-acquired infections.
The global automated specimen processing market is projected to be driven by the rising demand for laboratory automation procedures led by the increasing number of specimen preparations per day for testing, shortage of technically skilled professionals, and increasing pressure for low turnaround time of infectious disease assays. Increase in the number of geriatric patients requiring different biological sample tests, rise in the incidence of infectious diseases, and increasing pressure for on-site and quicker diagnosis of diseases are factors driving the demand for automated specimen processing. The automated specimen processing reduces laboratory costs; eliminates human errors; and improves overall laboratory outcomes. Also, increasing workflow of specimen processing procedures and shortage of skilled microbiology professionals across the globe is observed. These factors are likely to propel the demand for automated specimen processing equipments during forecast period. Automated specimen processing requires high capital investments. This is likely to be a key restraining factor for the automated specimen processing market during the forecast period.
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The automated specimen market can be broadly segmented on the basis of end-user and geography. Currently, only four specimen processors are available: walk-away specimen processor (WASP) by Copan Diagnostics, Inc.; the Previ Isola automated plate streaker by bioMérieux SA; and Innova processor and InoqulA specimen processing device by Becton, Dickinson and Company. Each of these instruments offers unique advantages over others and is capable of automating the specimen processing of liquid-based samples. Based on end-user, the automated specimen processing market has been segmented into hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and clinical microbiology laboratories. The diagnostics laboratories segment is projected to dominate the global automated specimen market by 2025.
Geographically, the global automated specimen processing market has been segmented into five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominates the global automated specimen processing market, owing to lack of manpower in microbiology laboratories, rising incidence of infectious diseases, and well-established health care infrastructure in the region. The market in Europe is projected to witness exponential growth during the forecast period, due to expanding health care infrastructure, growing number of pathological laboratories, and rising demand for laboratory automation in the region. In Asia Pacific, Japan is projected to account for a leading market share by the end of the forecast period. The market in China is likely to expand at the maximum CAGR during the forecast period. The markets in Latin America and Middle East & Africa are likely to witness steady growth during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the global automated specimen processing market include bioMérieux SA, Leica Biosystems Nussloch GmbH, Becton, Dickinson and Company, and Copan Diagnostics, Inc. A trend of collaborations and acquisitions has been observed in last decade in the global automated specimen processing market. In January 2015, bioMérieux SA and Copan Diagnostics, Inc. signed a strategic partnership agreement for distribution and co-development of automated solutions for microbiology laboratories.