It’s impossible to read healthcare news or articles or event attend a health-focused event without hearing the words “patient-centered care” or “patient experience”. In today’s world, we are experiencing a massive shift in how healthcare has been previously delivered, and it’s reshaping almost every facet of the healthcare system from top to bottom.
Every patient has different values, preferences, and desired health outcomes based on their unique background and experiences. According to a recent article on HealthHub, “Patient-centered care involves transforming the relationship between providers and patients from the traditional model, in which a care provider prescribes the same treatment for most patients with similar diagnoses or conditions, into a patient-provider partnership that considers treatment options based on a patient’s unique concerns, preferences, and values.”
While many labs would believe they are removed from the patient experience, it’s simply not true. In fact, no matter which part of the healthcare system you belong, your work ultimately impacts the patient for better or for worse. In a recent Becker’s Healthcare article entitled, “10 Guiding Principles for Patient-Centered Care”, it states that:
All team members are considered caregivers. “Under this principle, everyone in the workforce, from housekeeping staff to the CEO, is part of patients’ care experience. Regardless of one’s role, each person is expected to put the patient first. To create a patient-centered culture, MSHA has patient-centered care training for new employees.”
Labs play a critical role in the patient experience as every test that’s run could dictate the patient’s future. The timing of the lab tests is important, the outcome of the tests is important, the delivery of the results is important, and the reporting that the referring physician receives is important.
3 Ways Your Lab Plays a Vital Role
No matter the size of your lab, the type of tests you run, or the number of staff you employ, if your lab provides assistance to one or many healthcare systems, then your lab plays a vital role in the patient experience. Below are 3 ways your lab can play the role of a positive difference maker in a patient’s healthcare journey:
- Ensure Everyone’s Voice is Heard
While you or your peers may oversee the entirety of lab operations and be responsible for quality and other measures, often times technicians and others working in the lab have firsthand insight into processes that can be optimized. In a lab where preciseness, quality, efficiency, volume, and timing all matter greatly, it’s important to find every area across lab operations that can be improved. And what better place to look for guidance than your employees?
Lab technicians, operations managers, and others in your lab may have valuable opinions and reasons to suggest new ways for your lab to do business. For example, perhaps one of your technicians notices that a step is being repeated and isn’t necessary. Or maybe the reports are created by your reporting solution, but aren’t delivered to the referring physician in the most timely manner. By allowing every lab employee to speak up and raise concerns or suggestions, you are empowering your lab staff, and thereby improving the end results for both referring physicians, as well as patients. And maybe even your lab’s own bottom line.
- Provide Intuitive & Actionable Information – Not Just Results
Your referring physicians see upwards of 10 patients a day – often times, even more than that. Because their time is in such demand, the more readable your reports and intuitive your data and results, the better your referring physicians will be able to help the patient. As a lab, you can create beautiful, easy to interpret reports by using a LIMS system like Pathagility that can help your lab determine the types of tests and reports you need and help determine the algorithms to process the interpretive reporting. Remember: the better the reports, the better the diagnosis or recommendation, and the more satisfied (and healthier!) the patient.
- Focus on Turnaround Times (TaTs) of Lab Tests
There’s nothing worse than getting lab work done and not hearing results back for days or weeks on end. What’s worse, when a patient calls their physician to find out the results, they are told they don’t have an answer and aren’t sure when they’ll hear. As a patient, you can relate to the frustration and fear that creates in the patient.
For your lab, you play an enormous part in improving this step in the patient experience, and ensuring all systems are integrated across your lab is a key element. As a lab executive, you need a central laboratory reporting solution (such as a LIMS) that will adapt across any type of test, device or laboratory. In addition, today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with other existing systems such as EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instruments, and middleware to ensure that all data is available in one single, secure location.
Labs should strive to ensure the patient remains the primary focus above all else, with the absolute goal of delivering premier care.
For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources: