Sagar Verma, co-founder of My Health Advisor started his career as a call center executive in the health domain with qualifications of MBA in marketing and HR Bcom in hotel management. Before starting his own health tech start-up, he has mentored several startups for their profitable mechanism and employee training. He believes that incoming days people will call My Health Advisor before going for any health check-up.
Laboratories are crucial to the scientific development of conceptual and theoretical knowledge to help learn through scientific experiments and methods. When it comes to science, nothing stays the same for long. Trends move at the fast pace in the science and technology sector, and laboratories are a big part of that.
In recent years, the scientific community and affiliated professions have toyed with the idea of creating a “lab of the future.”
Digitized Workflow – From Electronic Microscopes To The Cloud
The role of the pathology laboratory is to use blood, fluid or tissue to provide accurate, timely and relevant information useful in making diagnoses and to guide and monitor therapy. After macroscopic evaluation of the masses in the digitized pathology lab, the process of whole slide imaging takes place. After the slices are prepared, an electronic microscope digitalizes the samples for further analysis with the help of various scanning solutions. A variety of digital products are already available on the market for migrating the entire workflow of pathologists from the manual to the digital.
It will make sending slides and data for consultation much easier so providing virtual pathology services at remote sites and facilitating discussions and second opinions will undoubtedly become a booming area. Although we will always have someone looking at tissues through an electronic microscope – the interpretative reporting will be carried out in front of pulsating screens rather than next to microscopes.
However, the digitized workflow also comes with limitations that need to be solved in the future for a seamless operation. As pathology images require very high resolution and image quality is key, files have enormous sizes.
Automation is the Future
Automation has so many benefits in many fields, but in science, the benefits of automation are tenfold. Cost efficiency, the option of scalability, and improved data quality are all great benefits of automation, but perhaps the most important is the time saved by removing the need for manual repetitive experiments. As time goes on, demand only increases, and automation has a much better chance of keeping up with that demand than technicians could. Automation will be the future for a lot of sectors, but interestingly, it is predicted to be a big part of the advancement of laboratories.
It is foreseen that robots and automated devices will be handling over half of the tasks that are at the moment completed manually by 2025. By 2026, the market for liquid handling robots is said to exceed a worth of 7 billion. This means that understanding automation could be a future proof career move in the world of tech and science too.
Fresh Designs For Collaboration and Flexibility
It is becoming more and more obvious that collaboration fuels results, and working together brings impressive results. The structure of laboratories is set to change, creating a more flexible workspace. The designs will ideally encourage interaction between colleagues and also accommodate varying types of research, which means flexible electrical outlets and equipment spaces, mobile workspaces such as benches, and the freedom to move around a lab.
A Concentration on Recruiting & Retaining Technicians
According to Life Sciences Outlook, biopharmaceutical companies are interested in a future where they are close to highly regarded academic centers. This makes sense, as companies would thrive with the help of professional resources. Both laboratory and data scientists on hand would push companies further, and having services such as a biopharma stability testing laboratory close by can only increase efficiency and productivity. This kind of onsite or closed by collaboration could spell some interesting outcomes for the future. With this goal in mind, laboratories must be an attractive proposition, along with energising workplaces, where technicians will want to stay. Retaining employees also means they retain those who grow and learn with the company, keeping hold of valuable skills.
Labs are Adopting Electronic Notebooks & Processes For Regulatory Compliance
The repository for the intellectual capital of hard science is changing from the physical to the virtual, from safes and freezers to servers that store data. This migration has made it easier to share information and enables scientists to eliminate the use of paper lab notebooks and their associated archival storage space. More importantly, scientists are rapidly adopting mobile computing platforms that make documentation a seamless, multi-media process that can be completed anywhere and shared easily (even globally). Considering the new reliance on servers, it is imperative to provide research facilities with reliable data centers and network connectivity.
AI for better Augmentation, Prognosis & Prediction
Pathologists use many techniques for augmenting tissues and samples to make specific abnormal mutations visible. For example, molecular tests have been used for many years to illuminate proteins. Deep learning algorithms will be able to do something similar with digitized images in the future. A.I. could spot certain linkages which are not visible for the human eye.
Bio-Technology for Precision Meducine
Various digital technologies will improve the point-of-care testing (PoCT) options of pathology departments in the future. Just as portable diagnostic devices are making it possible to diagnose patients wherever they are, such tools enable the examination of tissues, fluids and other samples near the patient’s location, in the surgery or clinic at the time of consultation to facilitate prompt clinical decision making regarding patient management. Various blood glucose meters, urine test strips, pregnancy tests fall into the category of PoCT, but their range will significantly widen in the future.
Laboratories are taking strides to better facilitate data sharing and utilize technology when possible. While it is unlikely that computer modelling will completely replace work on live subjects for pre-clinical testing, scientists are now using methods to reduce the quantity of research subjects and selecting species that have less intensive environmental requirements. Bioinformatics will continue to grow as an influential, multidisciplinary research discipline, and development platforms in labs.
The ideas we hold dearly now spring from our understanding of the present and the conditions that affect it. Of course some of our ideas will be considered absurd in 10 years, while others will already be assimilated into normal life. Some of our ideas may inspire concepts we have yet to propose. And for that reason we must continue to develop new ideas and investigate new approaches for design.
Long gone will be the days where laboratories are pictured as dark and dingy cramped spaces, but are celebrated as state of the art spaces which inspire creativity, facilitate the wellbeing of employees and become an attractive place to work in.