Over the past month, your Dark Daily editors have been busy talking to lab directors and pathologists who are at the cutting edge of the most powerful trend unfolding in clinical laboratory management. These are the lab industry’s first movers and early adopters who actively use Lean, Six Sigma, and other quality management methods to turbocharge the performance of their laboratory organizations.

Anecdotally, these conversations reveal several useful insights about the trend to adopt quality management methods. First, any laboratory which has deployed Lean and Six Sigma with proficiency tells us they are achieving paradigm-shifting benefits. Improvements range from a 50% reduction in average test turnaround times for inpatient testing (following a 14-week implementation project) to productivity gains in pre-analytical and analytical processes of between 40% and 60%.

Second, and not surprisingly, outcomes like these tend to energize the lab, causing excitement and genuine enthusiasm to take hold, sometimes across the entire laboratory staff. Third, when a laboratory is the first clinical service within a hospital or health system to implement a Lean or Six Sigma project, it is common for hospital administration to ask the laboratory to contribute their experience to quality management projects in other areas of the hospital, particularly emergency departments, surgery, pharmacy, and radiology. Lab managers and staff find that they gain new respect and admiration for blazing a quality management path within the hospital.

Fourth, a goodly number of these first mover and early adopter laboratories tell Dark Daily that the quality management initiatives have often generated dramatic improvements in clinical service and customer service performance—so dramatic, in fact, that it has helped their laboratory outreach programs pick up new clients at a faster rate. That outcome multiplies the financial benefits from these quality management projects.

To provide more information about these projects, DARK Daily and The Dark Report are inviting the lab industry’s “best of class” leaders in quality management to gather in Atlanta on September 19-20, 2007. It will be the first-ever gathering devoted exclusively to Lean, Six Sigma, ISO, and similar quality management systems and their use in clinical laboratories, hospitals, and pathology groups.

The first annual Lab Quality Confab on Quality Management in Diagnostic Medicine will be conducted at the Westin Peachtree Hotel in Downtown Atlanta. The presentation topics and confirmed speakers are about to be released. Lab Quality Confab will feature more than 40 sessions. It will include an exhibition to showcase the companies and consulting firms which currently provide products and services to aid laboratories on their quality management programs.

You can get updated information about Lab Quality Confab’s speakers, exhibitors, registration, and the full range of activities by visiting the Lab Quality Confab Site (if you cannot click on that link, simply paste this URL into your browser: http://www.labqualityconfab.com). We hope you make plans to join us in Atlanta on September 19-20 and be first in the lab industry to hear from the experts about how Lean, Six Sigma, and similar quality management systems are boosting the clinical performance and operational efficiency of the nation’s most progressive labs!

LabQuality Confab on Quality Management in Diagnostic Medicine
September 19-20, 2007
Westin Peachtree Hotel
Atlanta, Georgia

For full details about Lab Quality Confab:
http://www.labqualityconfab.com