The patient benefits from the successful integration of Norton Healthcare’s laboratory operations are the topic of the cover story in the most recent edition of MedicalLab Management.
Written by three leaders in the Norton Healthcare laboratory department, the article offers a guide to other laboratories. It also brings to light challenges of integration as well as benefits for patients and providers, such as the ability to adopt expensive new technologies partly because of ongoing savings from the integration.
A recent example is Norton Healthcare’s 2018 adoption of molecular flu testing.
“While this testing added substantially to our laboratory costs, these costs were offset by continued improvements in our operational efficiency,” Joshua Hayden, Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC; Kenette Pace, M.T. (ASCP); and Zora Pyevac, M.T. (ASCP), wrote in the article.
Joshua is the Norton Healthcare chief of chemistry. Kenette is system director for laboratory services. Zora retired earlier this year as system laboratory director.
The molecular influenza testing equipment allows for rapid detection of the virus in an emergency department, an important tool in providing the highest-quality patient care.
In addition to freeing resources to adopt leading-edge technologies, integrating laboratory functions has helped alleviate a shortage of clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) in the workforce.
“A CLS at one site can address a short-term, critical staffing shortage at another site practically at will,” the authors wrote.
The flexibility to cover schedule gaps keeps staffing at appropriate levels and prevents the need to hire temporary staff who may be unfamiliar with the system and workflows.
“Standardizing laboratory instrumentation, operations, and workflow is not a once-and-done activity; rather, it requires continual effort and improvement,” the three concluded.