News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
Sign In

Put April 28-29 on your calendar and join us for Executive War College 2009!

We’re Heading Back to New Orleans!

Get the latest and best in lab and pathology management!

Add this website to your favorites and check back often:

Make your plans to join us for the biggest and best Executive War College ever! Last year’s event was sold out and we plan to exceed it with timely topics, powerful speakers, and the profession’s best networking.

Executive War College 2009 will take place on April 28-29, 2009. Location will be the Sheraton New Orleans. After several years away, we are heading back to New Orleans!

As the lab industry’s leading showcase of innovative laboratories and pathology groups, it’s your best opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the nation’s best-performing laboratory directors and pathologists.

We’d also like to ask your help. What topics would you like to be presented at Executive War College 2009? Share your suggestions with us by emailing Besides topics, do you have speaker suggestions, including yourself? We work hard to locate some of the industry’s most interesting innovators. You may be among them, so let us know what your lab is doing!

In closing, don’t forget to mark your calendar and block April 28-29, 2009. We’d love to have you with us at the 14th Annual Executive War College!

Robert Michel

Hospitals Watch Out-UPMC’s “Smart Hospital Room” is the Wave of the Future

Informed by the Lean methods of the Toyota Production System, innovators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have created a clever and unique “smart hospital room.” Walking into a UPMC smart hospital room is like walking into healthcare’s future.

Upon entry of the caregiver into the patient’s room, a screen by the patient automatically shows the caregiver’s name, role, and, after a HIPAA privacy step, the caregiver immediately views relevant clinical information. At the same time, when anyone enters or leaves the room, a small spotlight highlights the hand sanitizer station on the wall-a subtle reminder that the individual should clean her or his hands. The screens are designed to present exactly the information each caregiver needs for that visit, and includes known allergies, medications, and necessary clinical actions. Because the screens are voice-activated, the caregiver only needs to speak to have the patient health record (PHR) show the requested information.

The effort to create the smart hospital room started in 2006, after a patient with a known latex allergy was touched by an IV nurse and suffered a severe reaction. The angry patient, with a swollen, puffy arm, even threw a bowl of soup at someone in the room. “The fact is we, as an organization, made it easy for her (the IV nurse) to fail,” observed David Sharbaugh, Senior Director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation at UPMC. Sharbaugh led the effort to create the smart room. Studying the source of errors caused the improvement team to focus on caregiver’s access to information. “Electronic health records and medical information are, in a large part, cooped up in computers located at different strategic locations throughout the unit,” observed Sharbaugh. “All we are trying to do is to make that information accessible without adding extra work for the caregivers and the patient.”

Following the success of the first prototype smart room at 486-bed UPMC Shadyside Hospital, a total of 24 hospital rooms in the same ward were converted to smart rooms by this summer. Clinical patient information comes from an electronic medical record (EMR) by Cerner Corporation (NSDAQ:CERN) of Kansas City, Missouri. UPMC clinicians wear ultrasonic tags, about half the size of a pager, made by Sonitor of Olso, Norway.

Lab managers and pathologists will find it interesting that phlebotomists are one of five types of positions wearing the ultrasound tags. Other positions wearing ultrasound tags include: physician, nurse, nurse’s assistant, and host (who brings the patient into the room and is responsible for transport and dietary work).

For those wanting to learn more, Lucy Thompson, R.N., MN CCRN, Improvement Specialist, UPMC Center For Quality Improvement and Innovation, will present the story of the UPMC Smart Hospital Room and Lessons Learned at the upcoming Lab Quality Confab on Quality Management in Diagnostic Medicine. Lab Quality Confab will take place from September 24-25, 2008 at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 50 sessions and topics will cover the full range of laboratory and pathology operations, ranging from specimen collection and courier logistics to using Lean with automation in the high-volume core laboratory. Poster sessions will take place, and national awards and prizes totaling $6,000 will be awarded. To see topics, speakers, and all the events at Lab Quality Confab, visit

To register for Lab Quality Confab, visit

Related Articles:

Extra! The Hospital Room of the Future!

Looking to Avoid Allergic Reactions and Increase Patient Safety, UPMC Creates Some Very Smart Rooms

Full program information and speaker agenda for Lab Quality Confab

Complete details about the Lean-Six Sigma Poster Presentations, National Trophies, and Cash Awards, along with Poster Presentation Application and Abstract forms