Laboratory Performance Improvement

Six Things You May Be Pretending You Don’t Know About Driving Performance in Your Clinical Laboratory

There are no magic bullets to achieve best-in-class performance in clinical laboratories—you have to do a lot of things right. But you can achieve performance in the top quartile by doing these six things:

1. Standardize equipment and reagents
2. Maximize synergies from consolidation
3. Grow your outreach program
4. Manage reference lab and blood costs
5. Apply lean practices
6. Participate in a benchmarking service

Are you surprised or disappointed that there isn’t some special magic to achieve top performance? There’s no magic; it requires paying attention to the basic “blocking and tackling,” the hard work, the things we would rather not do. Continue reading

Who is Driving Your Laboratory Margin, Customer Service, and Quality Improvements?

Now more than ever, hospitals and health systems laboratories are faced with the task of reducing costs and increasing efficiencies while delivering better patient care. Have you considered who will drive your laboratory improvement initiatives? Will it be internal staff, performance improvement staff, or consultants? As I speak to laboratory leaders everyday, it is apparent there is a lack of general consensus and understanding of who will deliver the best outcomes.

Are you considering using internal laboratory staff? Laboratory staff members are excellent technical resources but often lack project management skills and experience. Also, including project management responsibilities will add even more strain to an already noticeable laboratory workforce shortage. Published statistics illustrate the significance of the shortage:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a need for 14,000 new laboratory professionals annually with educational programs producing less than 5,000 new lab professionals each year.1
  • For every seven lab professionals exiting the profession due to retirement, only two are being replaced.2
  • With unemployment rates near double-digit levels across most of the nation, one would think that such a critical role in the healthcare profession would be in high demand. Unlike any other profession, demand actually exceeds supply with over 40,000 lab vacancies currently in the U.S.3

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