Lab best practices

April 22, 2024

In this issue of Medical Laboratory Observer, we are sharing the results of our State of the Industry survey on Lab Management Best Practices. The survey results provide insights into best practices around controlling costs, optimizing contracts, capturing reimbursements, managing supplies, implementing technology solutions, navigating staffing shortages, and improving the quality and efficiency of testing. MLO has been conducting this survey with readers for several years now. I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the feedback we received the past three years from MLO readers.

Retaining and recruiting staff

• Continuing education (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Career ladders (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Shift changes for scheduling flexibility (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Providing staff schedule six to eight weeks in advance, which provided ample time to make changes or trade among themselves (2022)
• Brought in lab aids to handle basic tasks, freeing up technicians’ time (2022)

Costs and reimbursements

• Standard lab processes and staff education materials (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Incorporated IT solutions to reduce human error (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Ensure the LIS and billing system are integrated appropriately to prevent lost charges (2022, 2023)
• Cost accounting, which allows labs to measure profitability by test type (2023)
• Patient billing through text/email versus stuffing hundreds of envelopes a week (2022)

Supply chain

• Standing orders instead of just-in-time (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Work with others in the organization such as the chief medical officer and physicians (2023, 2024)
• Apply lessons learned and best practices from acute care (medical/surgical) supply management (2024)
• Turned to laboratory-developed tests (2023)
• Diversify suppliers (place orders with various suppliers on a regular basis) (2022)

Quality and efficiency of testing

• Standardized test procedures/formularies (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Adopted new tools for automation, such as analyzers (2022, 2023, 2024)
• Staff and committee review of SOPs (2024)
• Empowering staff to continuously identify and address areas for improvement (2023)
• Quality Circle management to bring staff together to meet goals and adjust processes (2023)

As new ideas are proposed in lab management best practices, MLO will continue 
sharing them with you.

I welcome your comments and questions — please send them to me at 
[email protected].