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Keys to Lab Success From Lab Quality Confab

  • Nancy Greene, RN, BSN

This year, I had the opportunity to attend Lab Quality Confab in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on process improvement, lean, and six sigma for lab practitioners. Being that this was my first experience at this conference, I wanted to document some of the most interesting topics and presentations that I encountered.

With 80% of the attendees currently working in the hospital lab environment it was only right that Dark Daily’s Robert Michel spoke on the topic of “How Labs are Taking the Lead in Transforming Healthcare in the United States: Using Quality Management and Lean to Add Value, Improve Patient Outcome and Lower Cost of Care.”

Here were some of my key takeaways from his presentation:

  • The “New Healthcare” – IDN’s and healthcare systems are focused on delivering seamless, integrated clinical care; payment based on value; personalized or precision medicine (which requires more diagnostic testing not less); delivering proactive vs. reactive care; accessing and using big data (including clinical lab results) to improve patient outcomes
  • Robert encouraged attendees to become a “more intensive consumer/user of informatics” as a means of thriving in today’s new lab environment.
  • The best labs in the country are working to demonstrate that their lab test services can improve outcomes while decreasing costs vs. focusing on traditional fee-for-service models.
  • Healthcare systems are looking for innovative ways to provide better support of outpatient and office-based patients and ambulatory surgical centers.
  • Those who use external bench-marking will likely achieve best in class lab services.

If anyone stole the show at this conference, it was Atrium Health based in Charlotte, NC. Their lab leaders gave several presentations covering lessons learned in their step by step journey to transform their lab operations and integrate testing across all their facilities. They worked in alignment with their executive leadership, IT and materials management teams throughout the project and prior to the installation of their equipment in the lab, they created a full-to-scale model of their lab, “down to the mouse” in cardboard! It was a fascinating journey and I appreciated their willingness to share their experiences with us.

All in all, this conference was a wonderful experience and I would definitely be interested in attending again. Anytime you get 200+ laboratory managers and quality management practitioners in the same room, you are bound to gain some serious knowledge.

In summary, I left this conference with these main points resonating:

  • The attendees truly care about delivering the best care for their patients.
  • They are consistently asked to deliver more, with less resources and capital.
  • Many are seeking ways to improve their processes and drive efficiency.
  • The key to success moving forward, is to continue embracing change, demonstrating the importance of diagnostic results in driving improved outcomes at the lowest cost possible.
  • They need to continue seeking innovative ways to interact with their healthcare system leadership and providers in demonstrating the value of their services, to ensure future success.

Want to learn more about upcoming XIFIN events? Check out where you can meet up with us this fall on our events page


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