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5 March 2024

Three ways to successfully scale your toxicology laboratory


The global toxicology laboratory testing market is booming. In fact, it’s projected to top the $17bn mark1 by 2027. Capitalizing on the returns this growth can potentially deliver, relies on future-ready capabilities that can easily adapt to changing demands and expectations.

Increasing the efficiency and throughput of testing from order capture to instrument are front-of-mind for any toxicology laboratory. With the volume of forecasted growth in the market looking so strong, enabling your laboratory to move from handling daily volumes in the 100s to the 10,000s on a regular basis, as well as being ready to respond to unplanned peaks, is critical to capitalizing on this market growth.

Without the right systems and processes in place, achieving this scale and flexibility can prove challenging. However, modern cloud-based lab software provides the essential configurability you need to manage and process large volumes quickly. With new drug formulations emerging, as well as a rise in both the type and volume of substance abuse, demand for rapid screening and drug services will continue to grow. Alongside this, increasing regulations and decreasing reimbursement are driving the need for more advanced LIMS solutions that provide efficiencies with scale and flexibility.

Future-proofing your laboratory and equipping teams with enriched workflows that streamline information flow, accelerate throughput, and harness efficiencies are what is needed for labs to keep pace with the forecasted market growth. If you’re looking to seize the potential market opportunity on the horizon or are simply looking to scale up your testing provision, we’ve got three ways you can scale on your terms.

Improve accuracy and throughput using rules-based engines

Your toxicology laboratory will likely have to meet a variety of customer specifications and requirements on a daily basis. These may range from how specimens come into the lab, the way instruments are configured, or how the screening process through to confirmation needs to be managed. If you are dealing with relatively small volumes, your core systems and processes may not be stretched. Yet, as volumes increase, the need to manage positive and negative results by exception becomes far more valuable.

That’s where fully configurable workflows become invaluable. Rules-based engines allow labs to be more agile, customizing or configuring workflows to meet the demands of customers. The rules-based engine can support, for example, analytical method validation (TAP – Toxicology Accreditation Program) and CLIA compliance – assisting in automating the validation process by applying predefined rules to evaluate method performance against set criteria. Rules-based engines can help you set defined or expected criteria, compare actual results with expected values, identify discrepancies, and trigger alerts or corrective actions, saving valuable time and resources.   

Automate reflex testing

Being able to systematically identify all positive samples, for instance, and generate findings swiftly makes it much easier to identify barbiturates or opiates and validate just how much opium or codeine is present in a person’s system.

Reflex testing can be exceptionally helpful for addiction treatment and pain management workflows and help your scientists manage by exception. If you have a specimen from a patient where you are expecting to find a particular drug or even a specific quantity of a specific substance, establishing pre-configured rules can help speed up the detection process and enable the patient to be given the necessary treatment much more quickly. Although most off-the-shelf systems will not automatically trigger a reflex test in these scenarios, Clinisys Toxicology Laboratory lets you configure relationships between prescribed medications and laboratory tests, as well as generate configurable interpretative results at the level of prescribed medications.

Directly interface with instruments

If the specimens in your lab can be processed electronically, this removes the need for middleware or third-party tools to sit in between your LIMS and an instrument. As results become available from the instrument, they can be automatically submitted in the LIMS with specific rules in place to identify key thresholds, thereby improving accuracy, reducing costs, and maximizing operational efficiencies. While some third-party tools may provide a degree of capability that helps advance your laboratory systems and processes, the reliance on paper requisitions or the need to manually check CSV files for exceptions—typical of many considered options—is time-consuming and prone to error. Seamless integration between your LIMS and instrument readings enables scientists to process orders and identify exceptions more quickly, to provide efficient, accurate reports.

Enabling healthier communities

With people’s health, safety, and livelihoods at stake, toxicology labs must increasingly deliver accurate, quality testing services with fast turnaround times in an ever more complex environment. Labs need software solutions that can be configured to meet the precise needs of the toxicology industry, delivered in a way that enables your lab to be more agile and flexible as market needs and regulatory compliance develops.

Read more about how Clinisys Toxicology Laboratory can help you advance your laboratory’s capabilities to take advantage of market growth and technology innovation both now and in the future.

1 Technavio, Toxicology Testing Market by Technology, End-user, and Geography – Forecast and Analysis 2023-2027, November 2022.

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