Clinical diagnostics laboratories utilize a wide variety of instrumentation to measure critical care analytes. These instruments range from manual point-of-care bench apparatus to high-volume, fully automated free-standing systems. Testing is performed using all types of body fluids, including serum, whole blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and others. The results of these tests provide clinicians with critical information for diagnosis, prognosis, and constant monitoring of patients’ medical status. Clinical laboratories are generally divided into basic units, such as Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Immunochemistry, and Microbiology. These units perform tests that are grouped according to the type of analyte and/or to the methodology of measurement.
Antimicrobial susceptibility by minimal inhibitory concentration and microbial identification (AST/MIC-ID) are performed in the Microbiology laboratory to identify infectious agents from a variety of body fluids and determine the exact dosage of the specific antibiotic best suited to treat the infection. Automated instruments designed to carry out these tests have provided much faster turn-around times, which shortens hospital stays and improves patient care.