Sharing Lessons in How Medical Labs Can Achieve “Best Practices” When Implementing Lean
One major trend in laboratory medicine still gathering momentum is the use of Lean and similar process improvement methods by clinical laboratories and pathology groups cross the nation. However, once a medical laboratory has enjoyed substantial gains from initial Lean projects, it can be challenging to sustain the Lean mindset with staff and further build upon those gains.
“Sustaining Lean thinking in your laboratory turns out to be rather simple, if you will follow several proven steps,” stated Patrick Maul, MBA, MT (ASCP). Maul is a Principal Consultant at BD Diagnostics and one of the nation’s earliest practitioners of Lean and Six Sigma in medical laboratories.
Best and Worst of Lean Projects in Clinical Laboratories
In working with many laboratory clients, Maul has seen the best and worst of Lean projects. At the Fourth Annual Lab Quality Confab in San Antonio, Texas, last month, Maul delivered a very well-attended presentation “Lessons in Sustaining Lean and Tearing Down Silos in the Lab.”
“As part of their Lean effort, today’s top-performing clinical laboratories are breaking down the silos between departments and encouraging a cross-discipline approach and workflow throughout the laboratory,” observed Maul. “This is one proven way to unlock productivity and encourage more teamwork.
“It is common today for clinical laboratories to face ongoing operational and financial pressure,” he continued. “Pathologists and lab managers need to test ever-increasing volumes of specimens, even as the lab budget shrinks and reimbursement declines. And that’s where Lean methods can be a fast-to-implement and effective solution to help labs accomplish more while improving quality.”
Maul told his Lab Quality Confab audience that, on the “best” side of the equation, those clinical labs getting the most from their Lean projects do at least three things in common:
- “One, they start their Lean projects with support from the top, from the bottom, and from the middle management in their laboratory,” revealed Maul. “This is alignment of expectations, created by good communication and a Lean project plan that has defined goals.
- “Two, successful clinical labs reinforce what works,” continued Maul. “They understand how med techs can be motivated by improving workflow and eliminating time-consuming tasks that add little value. Dashboards and scorecards that measure progress are highly visible and changed daily.
- “Three, top labs engage the med techs and entire staff in the planning, implementation, and sustaining processes,” he added. “People are proud of their laboratory and want it to be a great place to work. When successful labs combine this staff commitment with Lean methods, every improvement project and kaizen event turns out well.”
Patrick Maul will share more of these insights about how successful labs sustain Lean projects during a special audio conference titled “Achieving Best Practices in Laboratory Operations and Workflow: How to Sustain Lean and Tear Down Silos in Your Lab.” It takes place tomorrow, December 15th, at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Case Study Examples in Lean Successes from Genova Diagnostics
Co-presenter is Robert Giles, Ph.D, Vice President of Laboratory Operations for Genova Diagnostics, based in Asheville, North Carolina. Giles will provide real-world examples of how Lean is transforming operations and workflow at Genova Diagnostics. He’ll discuss steps his laboratory staff took to break down silos and foster increased collaboration across all testing areas within the clinical laboratory.
To learn more about “best practices” in Lean and process improvement, plan to be with us during tomorrow’s audio conference. Take this opportunity to gain the insights and master the techniques shared by Patrick Maul and Robert Giles so you put your laboratory on the path to sustained improvement and peak performance. Use this link to register now!
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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 speaker during the audience Q&A session
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