Managing a clinical lab comes with a cavalcade of conundrums to overcome, and understanding the obstacles in your path is the first step to removing them.
Let’s go over the most widespread issues in this type of workplace, and provide a few solutions to help managers make headway.
The tests carried out in clinical labs are important because they are involved in medical diagnoses which can lead to life-saving treatment for patients. However, delays can occur, and even in non-urgent cases this is a frustration for patients and physicians alike.
The answer is to implement management software designed to ensure that results can be sent out as soon as they are available. This means patients can get a lowdown on their condition within minutes of a test being completed, rather than having to wait days or even weeks to find out.
Clinical labs require all sorts of equipment, materials and products to function smoothly. And yet if your inventory is not properly overseen and orchestrated, you could either suffer from shortages or end up with a surplus that creates added costs and exacerbates waste.
As well as taking advantage of tools to track lab inventory, it is a good idea to make use of a lab management course that covers how best to handle this holistically.
As well as minimizing waste and eliminating bottlenecks, this can also aid with elements like employee onboarding, by putting you in charge of your human resources.
Data security has to be a priority in clinical labs, but it can fall by the wayside if you are not proactive in implementing secure policies and procedures for providing access to patient information.
For example, allowing all employees to access every type of file available on internal servers is a bad idea, since it creates more points of vulnerability and increases the possibility of privacy being violated.
Instead, you should implement access management solutions so that only people with relevant roles can get at the data they need. Strict password security must also be rolled out, or else the rest of your efforts could be undermined easily.
End-of-day reporting is a requirement in clinical labs, and has to be done right in order to keep the books balanced and to ensure that proper payment and billing is secured for the services you have rendered.
If not, you might find that your cash flow takes a hit, and you could even lose clients over it.
Once again the right software rides to the rescue, as there are reporting platforms designed with labs like this in mind.
Of course if these features are found in the lab management software package you pick, then this is obviously more convenient than using yet another separate tool to track reporting over time.
The ebb and flow of samples will determine how well a lab performs within a given timeframe, and if you are not prepared for spikes in demand, then productivity and throughput could grind to a halt.
This is where barcoding samples as soon as possible is a sensible strategy. This is particularly relevant if you are intending to outsource any of your testing, or involve third party partners in any way.
If your mission-critical resources are not carefully managed, regularly maintained or backed up by secondary solutions that can kick in should an outage occur, then you run the risk of having the whole lab thrown into chaos due to unplanned downtime.
Continuity planning must be prioritized by clinical lab managers, and policies have to be adhered to by technicians to keep things running as intended.