I have been the CEO of MediaLab since its creation in 1995. Before MediaLab I was a practicing pathologist at Gwinnett Pathology Associates in suburban Atlanta from 1989.
MD, The Ohio State University, 1979
“I am a fellow of the College of American Pathologists and member of the CAP’s curriculum committee. I am an avid traveler, from Iceland to Chile to Italy, and outdoor enthusiast.”
If you were explaining MediaLab, Inc., to someone who is not familiar with the organization, how would you characterize its primary areas of expertise? MediaLab is both a content provider and a software company, and we focus entirely on the needs of laboratories. Our staff consists of medical technologists, point-of-care coordinators, and former inspectors, people who know the laboratory field inside and out. Our programmers work closely with our subject experts and users to create CE courses, document control, and inspection readiness solutions that meet the lab’s unique regulatory and compliance challenges. We don’t make a generic product, and the lab isn’t just “one more market segment” for us; it’s our primary area of expertise.
What are the major categories of solutions that MediaLab provides for its customers? Compliance & CE is a library of 85 continuing education and safety courses that labs can deliver to their employees. Employees earn CE credit suitable for ASCP, AMT, and state renewal requirements.
Document Control helps labs go paperless and bring their policies and procedures online. It automates many of the tedious tasks associated with this area such as hunting down users who haven’t signed procedures and keeping up with periodic review dates and helps ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Document Control also has the ability to maintain approval signatures, changes and revisions, employee signoff, biennial review records, and much more.
InspectionProof helps labs prepare for an on-site inspection and conduct self inspections. The lab has the ability to upload CAP checklists and cross-link checklist requirements to policies and procedures in Document Control. Item responses can be reviewed and approved by management. When inspection day arrives, the inspectors find documentation in a convenient, searchable, organized format.
How have those solutions evolved in recent years to address changing customer needs? How is the company positioning itself to remain a leader in the future? Because we’re deeply connected to the laboratory field, we stay on top of changing requirements and trends. Our in-house programmers make updates in weeks, not months, to keep up with the needs of the labs. Also, we continue to create new applications that integrate with our existing ones. Our latest offering, POCT Compass, helps laboratories manage the competency assessment process for hundreds or thousands of point-of-care testing personnel.
Cloud-based software is much talked about and not always well understood. What are its most valuable applications for the clinical lab? Laboratories have enough to worry about without having to keep up with hardware and software upgrades, and IT is not always responsive to the needs of the laboratory. Cloud-based software is much faster to get up and running. Labs don’t need any IT expertise to configure servers, change firewalls, or request any special network access. MediaLab’s cloud-based software runs entirely in a standard web browser, with no additional setup or security issues.
Document control is a growing concern for many labs for regulatory and other reasons. What kinds of solutions does MediaLab offer its clients in this area? In the past, labs had to get generic document control software or make do with Sharepoint, which is not set up for the laboratory. The software can’t handle CAP and CLIA requirements, and it does not have the ability to distinguish major and minor revisions, print out controlled and uncontrolled copies, or let users download forms or worksheets.
Document control is about making the laboratory’s job easier, not harder. A good document control system automates a lot of tasks that management has to take care of such as sending notifications about new documents, keeping binders up-to-date, chasing down signatures from employees on all shifts, and more. And most importantly, a good document control system won’t let anything slip through the cracks.
MediaLab’s document control is flexible, easy, and affordable. Working with several hundred labs, from large hospital systems to small regional facilities, we’ve seen a lot of different scenarios. We work hard to streamline important tasks and make sure employees can accomplish their tasks and find documents quickly.
Back to your InspectionProof product. How does it, in the words of your website, “make Inspection Day just like any other day”? InspectionProof helps the laboratory have an appropriate response to every CAP checklist item. By linking policies and procedures, evidence, and documentation to CAPs checklist items, the lab can ensure its preparedness. Inspectors will find the laboratory’s checklist responses, procedures, policies, and documentation in a manageable format.
You mentioned CE courses. Continuing Education remains an important component for clinical labs. Can you say more about how MediaLab addresses this need? MediaLab is one of the top five providers of CE across the United States. We award hundreds of thousands of P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education hours every year. Our course library currently includes 85 courses, with more than 100 CE hours. Labs can pick and choose the courses they want to complete and can assign required courses as well. In addition, we have more than 20 hours of histology CE available. We add at least 10 new courses every year, so the library is always growing, and all users get access to the latest courses.
Compliance & CE isn’t just a library of off-the-shelf courses; it’s a complete solution for delivering required and optional training, printing certificates, and generating reports. MediaLab’s courses are customizable, allowing the lab to build training courses, quizzes, and checklists using text, audio, video, uploaded images, and uploaded files. The courses can also be automatically converted into PowerPoint files or online courses with a single click.