Establishing the most efficient workflows for your lab is crucial for maximizing efficiency and improving margins. While there’s no single consensus regarding what constitutes an optimal workflow management for clinical labs, there are ways to ensure your lab’s workflows are streamlined.
A laboratory information system with a rules-driven workflow can help improve clinical laboratory processes through software, user licenses, interfaces, hardware and professional services for growth and prosperity.
There are two main pillars of hurdles that stymie labs’ efforts to optimize their workflow: the “Three Rs” and organizational silos.
The Three Rs – reimbursements, regulations and resources – are putting increased pressure on clinical laboratories, according to a webinar on Labroots presented at the Beckman Coulter Life Sciences Virtual Trade Show by Jeannine T. Holden, director of scientific affairs for Beckman Coulter. Many labs face greater scrutiny in reducing their operating expenses, regardless of whether they’re operating in fee-for-service settings or fully bundled, capitated environments.
“Organizational silos hinder labs’ ability to improve workflows.”
Resourcing is a main concern in creating efficiency workflows. Too many redundancies in the workforce can lead to increased spend on labor costs that might not be necessary. As noted by Holden, in many instances, laboratory-driven tests require a substantial workforce and labor can account for more than 70 percent of the costs.
Organizational silos also hinder labs’ ability to improve workflows. Different departments, such as sales, marketing, delivery, customer support and quality, all need to function as a cohesive unit. Too often though, whether due to their interacting at different touchpoints during the customer lifecycle or because of internal structures, each department will operate independently of each other. This leads to inefficiencies as every department fails to stay on the same page.
An LIS allows lab managers to effectively leverage flexible rules-based technology that can adapt to and improve any laboratory workflow. The right LIS will be both familiar and intuitive, as well as fully interoperable across clinical lab departments and functions, including:
The intuitive and easy-to-use LIS interface lets labs capitalize on the use of full-time equivalents, as ineffective scheduling of the lab’s workforce can be a major factor in clogging workflows. Effectively planning work schedules for peak times helps ease the strain caused by resource challenges.
An LIS provides cohesive workflows for all systems, instruments, printers, barcoding and management reports. Streamlining all of this crucial information into the platform allows lab techs to manage all these diverse functions and operations within a single framework. Access to this data allows lab managers to identify any backlog or inefficiencies in the workflow.
Further, by customizing the workflow capabilities of the LIS, clinical labs can align their best practices with their LIS, thereby creating even greater efficiencies.
Ultimately, the right LIS will help clinical labs overcome the burdens placed on them by the “Three Rs” while decreasing the potential for internal organizational silos.
Click here to learn how Aspyra’s LIS can help clinical labs overcome pain points in their workflows.