Alignment of labs has benefited both caregivers and patients

Alignment of labs has benefited both caregivers and patients

 

While many people don’t get to meet the laboratory professionals who have a role in their care, lab results often play one of the most vital roles in a patient’s health care journey. Emily Leech, Director of Laboratory Services, said while most of their work occurs behind the scenes, lab caregivers at Regional Health are extremely passionate about the impact they have on patient care.

“In the lab we focus on having both the quality and the heart, because we know we can’t do one without the other,” Emily said. “Our lab caregivers know that when they hold a tube of blood, that’s a patient. Even though we’re behind the scenes most of the time, we are 100 percent committed to making a difference.”

The process of providing high-quality lab results in an efficient manner across all Regional Health locations has only gotten better as of late. Just a few years ago, all 31 of the labs (six hospital labs and 25 clinic labs) were operating separately from one another. The decision to combine the labs into a single service line has increased communication and efficiency and decreased costs. Lab equipment has been standardized across all locations, which has increased the consistency of results and made it easier for caregivers to work together.

The change also presented the opportunity to develop a standardized onboarding process for new caregivers, as well as a career development ladder. “This allows caregivers to grow within the laboratory or pursue a different career path like nursing,” Emily said.

Michelle Stephens, Vice President of Operations for Rapid City, said the initiative was successful because caregivers from all sites contributed valuable input. Emily said the open dialogue between the market presidents and lab leaders helped build a foundation of trust that was necessary for this to be successful.

Emily and Megan Franzen, Laboratory Quality Manager, presented at the annual Premier Breakthroughs conference in Nashville last month to share the success story of integrating the labs. Megan said professionals from other labs around the country were “blown away that we were able to standardize our equipment across all locations.”

Megan, who has worked as a Regional Health lab caregiver for 15 years, said the silos that previously existed between the labs have been broken down. “Now we can share information and learn from each other. It also allows for more input from all of our labs.”

Since the transition, labs have seen an increase in patient experience scores. “We’re here to provide high-quality, accurate services so our providers can make the right decisions,” Emily said. “That’s what our patients want from a lab visit – they want timely results and they want it done the right way, the first time.”

Thanks to the 175 lab caregivers at Regional Health who work hard to provide consistent, high-quality care, every day. We may not see you often, but we always notice your dedication.

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