In the early 80s, the word automation was used in the clinical laboratory setting referring only to analyzers. But in late 80s and afterwards, automation found its way into all aspects of the diagnostic process, embracing not only the analytical but also the pre- and post-analytical phase. While laboratories in the eastern world, mainly Japan, paved the way for laboratory automation, US and European labo-ratories soon realized the benefits and were quick to follow.
Clearly, automation and robotics will be a key survival tool in a very competitive and cost-concious healthcare market. What sets automation technology apart from so many other efficiency solutions are the dramatic savings that it brings to the clinical laboratory. Further standardization will assure the success of this revolu-tionary new technology.
One of the main difficulties laboratory managers and personnel must deal with when studying solutions to reengineer a laboratory is familiarizing themselves with the multidisciplinary and technical terminology of this new and exciting field. The present review/glossary aims at giving an overview of the most frequently used terms within the scope of laboratory automation and to put laboratory automation on a sounder linguistic basis.