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
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Immunoassay and Infectious Disease Analyzers Evaluated during Use by Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Industrial engineering firm issues “Consumer Report”-type assessment of mid-volume, automated IA and ID analyzer systems

It’s not often that pathologists and clinical laboratory managers can access a Consumer Reports-type of comparison of laboratory analyzers as they prepare to purchase new diagnostic systems. In the case of mid-volume analyzers for immunoassy (IA) and infectious disease (ID) testing, such a report is now available—and it is immediately available on the Web.

The report is titled “Using Quality Management Methods to Compare Competing Mid-Volume Segment Immunoassay Systems that Perform Infectious Disease Testing.”  This report can be immediately downloaded and viewed by visiting the web site.


New Managed Care Contract Opportunity for Clinical Labs and Pathology Groups

As health insurers build patient-friendly web sites, they now want all the lab test data

For laboratories wanting to contract with managed care plans, it will soon be “all about the data.” In upcoming contract renewal talks, expect health insurers to have a keen interest in working specifically with those clinical laboratories and pathology groups which can interface and electronically provide lab test data.

Dark Daily is first to identify this important development. It creates an opportunity for local laboratories to contribute added value to payers in their region. There is a specific reason for this increased interest. Health insurers are building information-rich Web sites for their insured beneficiaries. It is now important for them to have laboratory test data that they can use to populate the digital health record of their beneficiaries.

Laboratory Outreach Program Flourishes at Evanston Hospital

Across the country, many hospital laboratory outreach programs continue to grow and prosper, despite a sour economy and higher rates of unemployment. That’s true in Chicago’s northern suburb of Evanston, Illinois, where the laboratory outreach program of Evanston Hospital enjoys solid rates of growth in specimen volume and revenue.

This week, Dark Daily visited Evanston Hospital and spent time with Thomas A.Victor, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and his laboratory team. Evanston Hospital is the anchor facility for Northshore University Healthsystem, which includes Glenbrook Hospital, Highland Park Hospital, and Skokie Hospital. These four hospitals total 1,043 beds. Northshore is affiliated with the University of Chicago School of Medicine.


Making Managers in Your Laboratory More Productive and More Effective

Today’s most innovative clinical laboratories and pathology labs are tapping a powerful resource to achieve world-class outcomes-their managers! In response to a variety of market forces, laboratory administrators and medical directors are turning their attention toward encouraging more productivity and achievement from managers at all levels in their laboratory.

“This is an emerging trend,” stated Jeff Smith, Vice-President of Leadership Development for Slone Partners of Miami, Florida. “The art and science of management in clinical laboratories is now reaching the point where, for a laboratory to be competitive and financially self-sustaining, it must get top productivity from its management team. In fact, this is how first mover and early adopter laboratories are responding to ongoing budget cuts and the acute shortage of trained medical technologists (MTs) and other technical staff that makes it near impossible to operate their laboratories at 100% of authorized staffing levels.”

In recent years, Smith has been personally involved with several prominent clinical laboratories to help them create and implement effective management development programs. “It is no accident that these clinical laboratories achieve world-class management outcomes,” noted Smith. “They have three attributes that can be duplicated by any laboratory-large or small-willing to pursue management excellence.

“First, top-performing laboratories are good at assessing the strengths, weaknesses, and undeveloped potential of their managers,” he said. “This means recognizing those managers with the potential to be a management super star, as well as those managers, who, because of their attitudes and long-established patterns, are likely to roadblock and oppose efforts to improve productivity and performance within the laboratory.
“Second, top-performing laboratories create an objective, concise career path for lab managers at all levels,” continued Smith. “These career paths help senior lab leaders identify promising manager candidates at the bench, and then provide these individuals with the training, knowledge, and mentoring that allows them to develop. The goal is to help the next generation of management talent acquire skills and experience in a safe setting, and build them step-by-step, level-by-level, into confident leaders and managers.”

“Third, in those clinical laboratories and pathology laboratories with the most energized management teams, I see a well-articulated vision, clear management objectives, and detailed measurement of progress toward goals,” commented Smith. “This is accomplished in two dimensions. One dimension is the global goals and measurements for the laboratory’s operational, service, and financial objectives. The other dimension involves regular and objective feedback to managers on how they are attaining their personal milestones while managing their staff in ways that sustain the desired working culture with the laboratory.”

For those laboratory administrators, lab directors, and lab managers interested in advancing their ability to create a high-performance management team, Jeff Smith has agreed to conduct a special audio conference on this topic for readers of Dark Daily and The Dark Report. Titled: “Improving Lab Management Productivity: How To Evaluate Your Team And Stimulate Increased Performance And Profitability,” this unique learning opportunity will take place on October 21, 2008 at 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time. This will be a fact-filled, 90-minute session. For information and to register, visit

This audio conference helps you understand how to identify the super-stars on your management team. You’ll learn how to re-recruit them so they don’t go off to work in another laboratory. There will be information on how to spot the non-achievers on your existing management team, along with proven methods you can use to help these disappointing managers either overcome their barriers to self growth and lab achievement or to help them recognize their deficiencies, setting up a mutual departure from the lab. Best of all, you’ll learn the proven secrets to creating an energized, enthusiastic, “can do” management culture in your lab-one that consistently exceeds expectations. Reserve your participation in this highly valuable audio conference by registering today at

1. Register Online
2. Call toll free: 800-560-6363

Registrations accepted until Tuesday, October 21, 2008, noon EDT.
Cancellations before 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 17, 2008 may receive a full refund less a $25 service charge.

Your audio conference registration includes:
•    A site license to attend the conference (invite as many people as you can fit around your speakerphone at no extra charge)
•    Downloadable PowerPoint presentations from our speakers
•    A full transcript emailed to you soon after the conference
•    The opportunity to connect directly with our speakers during the audience Q&A session

Kaizen Events Catch on with Labs and Hospitals Using Lean & Six Sigma

Kaizen events are winning favor in a growing number of laboratories and hospitals. These events-typically several days to one week in duration-provide a simple, fast platform to drive significant improvement in clinical services and operational performance.

At the Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) in Charlotte, North Carolina, the laboratory used a Kaizen event to implement major improvements specifically to the laboratory outreach intake operations in the pre-analytical area of the lab. Following just a few days of planning and implementation, the CHS laboratory achieved a substantial reduction in processing time and an equally dramatic reduction in errors and mishandling of outreach specimens.

“Kaizen” is the Japanese word that describes continuous improvement. A Kaizen event consists of three steps. During step one, a cross-disciplinary team of knowledgeable participants in the laboratory or hospital is identified and, prior to the Kaizen event, each individual is asked to study a particular work process or operational problem that will be the target of the Kaizen event. Step two brings this cross-disciplinary team together for several days or one week. During this time together, the team analyzes the situation, identifies opportunities to improve, implements the recommendations, and fine-tunes the changes. Step three is to sustain the improvements achieved during the Kaizen event.

Kaizen events are appealing to many laboratories and hospitals for a simple reason: the concentrated effort invariably produces powerful results that require only a few days to achieve. Another attractive aspect of the Kaizen event is that the lab can bring in an experienced consultant to lead the event and get a big outcome for a small outlay.

Lab managers and pathologists interested in learning how to use Kaizen events will have the opportunity to hear Tom Hassett, Vice President at Carolinas HealthCare System discuss his lab’s successes with this lab management tool in a session titled “Kaizen Event Project Transforms Lab Outreach Intake and Accessioning.” Hassett’s session will be one of several presentations about Kaizen events at the upcoming Lab Quality Confab, scheduled for September 24-25, 2008, at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Experts from Beckman Coulter Corporation will conduct a management master class titled “Using Kaizen Bursts to Improve Performance, Simplify Workflow, and Slash Costs,” providing the essential knowledge needed to successfully use Kaizen events in the laboratory and the hospital.

In addition to Kaizen events, more than 50 presentations at Lab Quality Confab will provide lab managers and pathologists with opportunities to learn and master all aspects of Lean, Six Sigma, and rapid process improvement. With growing numbers of labs and hospitals accelerating their use of Lean and Six Sigma, Lab Quality Confab is the perfect resource for knowledge, networking, and the latest lab case studies. Last year, more than 275 attendees from seven countries participated, making this the world’s largest conference devoted to rapid process improvement in laboratories and hospitals. To see topics, speakers, and all the events at Lab Quality Confab, visit
To register, visit

Related Information:
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:

Four Easy Ways to Register:
1. Register ONLINE
2. Call 800-560-6363. Our friendly staff can register you quickly and easily, as well as answer any questions you may have.
3. Fax this complete registration form to 512-264-0969
4. Mail the one page form with payment to:

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