Many pathology laboratory managers fail to realize that applying business system management practices to their lab can increase revenue, improve employee morale, and offer a better value to consumers. While many different business system management techniques can be applied, starting with the application of the lean model may be a great place to start. The lean model concentrates on removing non-value steps from the operation.
The lean manufacturing process has five fundamental principles. Thinking through each of these principles with your medical team, including administrators, workers, shareholders, and others, allows each to give process improvement input from their unique vantage point
The idea behind sustainability is to eliminate items that are not necessary in the path lab. One of the areas where many labs can benefit is to get rid of unneeded medical equipment that has grown obsolete. Create a specific space for items that workers no longer need. Then, as a team, these items should be disposed of prudently.
Another lean business model principle that can help path labs is to set materials in order. Creating maps during path lab buildouts can improve the efficient movement of people and specimens. You can, however, implement it within existing labs by drawing maps of the activities that happen and designating convenient spots for all materials based on those activities. Adding flexible shelving and mobile carts to your path lab can help make this step easier to perfect.
Standard operating procedures should be created and written to help bring new employees on board rapidly. Lab benches should have a standardized layout, so everyone knows where to find things. Each item should have a marking allowing everyone to know which area of the lab that it belongs in. Conduct regular audits to make sure everyone is following procedures. Each employee should know what they are responsible for completing.
Usually, lab employees go through the same cycle when being introduced to new procedures. While you may find a few that are excited to try something new, most employees will grumble and think you are adding to their workload. Avoid this problem by listening to employees and including them in the decision-making process early and often. Once the lean process is no longer new, you may find employees wanting to slip into old practices again. Reward those who stick with the documented program.
If you are thinking of a pathology lab buildout, then consult Hankins Consult. They can make the buildout process allowing the team to implement lean principles from the beginning. Then, when employees start working, they will love the new setup. You will like the increased revenue, and your patients will love getting their results faster. Call Hawkins Consult to get started today.