Automation and Technology in the Histology Laboratory (Online CE Course)

(based on 214 customer ratings)

Author: Joelle Weaver MAOM, HTL(ASCP), QIHC
Reviewer: Carla Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP)

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Overall, the idea of high quality tied to efficiency is a consistent theme throughout the current healthcare environment. Like all areas of the laboratory, histology is turning to automation and technology in order to meet these increasing demands. This course will review the various types of automation and technology available to histology laboratories and the possible impact it can have on histology workflow.

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 2 hour(s)
Approved through 4/30/2024
Approved through 4/30/2024


  • Define key terminology related to the histology laboratory testing cycle, technology, and automation.
  • Identify barcode and other technology that can assist in error reduction.
  • Describe key differences between batch and continuous flow specimen processing.
  • Differentiate the advantages and disadvantages between open and closed automated systems.
  • Identify tasks and processes within histology which have been successfully automated.
  • Discuss the impact of technology and automation on workflow and operations within the histology laboratory.

Customer Ratings

(based on 214 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Technology Adoption and the Workflow
      • Test Cycle
      • Pre-analytical, Analytical, and Post-analytical Phases of Testing
      • Drivers of Technology Adoption
      • Regulatory Focus
      • General Impact of Technology on Histology Workflow
      • Place the names of the three distinct phases of the laboratory testing cycle in the correct order of occurrence used during a normal progression of a ...
      • The adoption of automation in the histology laboratory results in changes to the traditional, manual histology process. Which of the following changes...
  • Traditional Histology Workflow
      • Traditional Histology "Batch" Processing
      • Automation Design and Error Reduction
      • Identification (ID) Errors - Scope of the Problem
      • Pre-analytic and Analytic Phase Error Reduction
      • Case Studies and Error-Rate Statistics
      • Case Study: Automation Challenges with Complex Workflows
      • For each histology task, identify which category it belongs to:AUTOMATED: If the task HAS been or COULD be automatedMANUAL: If the task has NOT yet be...
      • Two of the most consistent problems that occur within traditional histology batch processing are the:Tendency for significant variations from batch-to...
  • Types of Laboratory Automation
      • Deciding to Automate
      • Considerations and Potential Issues
      • Laboratory Information System (LIS) Integrated Technology
      • Batch versus Continuous Flow Specimen Processing
      • Open and Closed Automation Systems
      • Recommended Steps for Choosing an Automation System
      • History and Types of Barcode Technology
      • Barcode Reading and Accuracy
      • Barcode Technology Applications
      • Barriers to Adoption of Barcode and Technology in the Histology Laboratory
      • Determining the Return on Investment (ROI)
      • Conclusion
      • A laboratory information system (LIS) consists of the computer hardware and software which provide the means to manage data used in laboratory operati...
      • One of the main reasons that barcoding has not been enthusiastically adopted by histology laboratories is that barcodes have been shown to be LESS acc...
  • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Intermediate
Intended audience: This course is intended for histology bench technicians and technologists, supervisors, and administrators. This content may benefit those working with or who may be contemplating new automation and technology for use in the histology laboratory. A fundamental background in the technology and automation used for histology will provide information for those who may be considering potential process improvement.
Author information: Joelle Weaver MAOM, HTL(ASCP), QIHC is a certified histotechnologist HTL from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) with experience in clinical, research, and reference histopathology. She has received qualification from the ASCP in immunohistochemistry and is a local ASCP representative for the Nashville, Tennessee area. Joelle's bachelor's degree was received from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and her master's degree was awarded from Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. She is also a graduate of a NAACLS accredited Histotechnology Program. Positions held include education coordinator, lead instructor, and program director of a NAACLS accredited HT certification training program.
Reviewer information: Carla J. Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP) is the System Director of Anatomic Pathology for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Healthcare Management as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Troy University, Troy, Alabama. She is certified as a Histotechnician and has 29 years of experience in the field of Histology.
Course description: Histological testing has historically been carried out using long-established manual work processes that have remained relatively unchanged for over the last one hundred years. As medicine progresses into the era of personalized medicine, histology is responding by moving toward more complex testing such as prognostic immunohistochemistry (IHC) and molecular pathology. In addition, factors such as the demand for reduced turnaround times and staffing shortages have also driven the increased adoption of automation and technology into the histology laboratory.

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