Happy Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!

March 27, 2023

April has always been a special issue for MLO. This is the month that Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is celebrated (April 23–29, 2023), which highlights the vital role played by laboratory professionals and pathologists in the field of medicine. Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is now in its 47th year. To coincide with this celebration, MLO publishes its annual Lab of the Year award.

Our first Lab of the Year award was in 2003 — twenty years ago! Before 2003, MLO held an Outstanding Laboratorian Contest. Our first Lab of the Year winner was Family Doctors of Boulder City. Family Doctors offered an extensive set of testing services and procedures necessary for a comprehensive, preventive healthcare program on site. The laboratory staff worked with medical assistants and nurses to ensure proper sample collection and even worked with the billing department to ensure proper CPT codes were used for lab testing.

This year, we received a lot of impressive nominations. This was my first year being a part of the process, and I enjoyed reading every nomination. One Texas laboratory’s nomination even put a tear in my eye describing all their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you so much to all the labs that submitted thoughtful nominations, and thank you to the judges for your time reviewing and scoring the labs in the six categories: customer service, education and training, productivity, teamwork, lab inspections, and strategic outlook.  

It is clear that labs' dedication to excellence, customer service, education, teamwork, and improvement is a year-round commitment. And some labs in the country really stand out. This year’s Lab of the Year award goes to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The two runners-up are North Kansas City Hospital Laboratory in North Kansas City, Missouri and Radeas Labs in Wake Forest, North Carolina. We feature all three labs in this issue beginning on page 14. Characteristics that I would like to highlight of each of these winners include the following:

  • Process improvement is an integral part of the Avera McKennan Laboratory— improvements do not occur occasionally but are a result of the collective efforts of staff involved in the day-to-day processes.
  • The employee culture is exemplary at North Kansas City Hospital Laboratory. Collaboration, celebrations, and charitable activities have created a strong team. In addition, the laboratory provides a robust education and training program.
  • Radeas stands out for its agile approach to serving customers. Radeas’ mobile labs provided walk-up services in underserved communities and long-term care settings and when setting up a drive-up testing site in its parking lot, a local restaurant known for its drive-through efficiency helped Radeas orchestrate a well-organized system.

Again, thank you to all our laboratories! I welcome your comments and questions — please send them to me at [email protected].