Today’s lab leaders must continuously seek ways to improve efficiencies, maximize quality, and reduce costs. The Surrey Memorial Hospital lab set out in pursuit of these goals—although the challenge at first looked daunting.
"To be honest, we were rather skeptical at first," says Sherrie Warren, Operations Manager at Lower Mainland Labs. "You’ve done something one way for so long that you’re not confident someone can come along and change it so dramatically." She and her team realized that careful preparation was key.
First, longer-term goals had to be established. These included maximizing performance through balanced workloads, refined sample and workflow, and reagent optimization. Improved process efficiency was also sought through the LEAN process.
To make matters more challenging, institutional-level variables also needed to be accounted for. First, the Surrey ER grew from 25 beds to 100 beds, accompanied with an increased lab test volume of approximately 15%. This included extensive tumor marker crossover. Furthermore, Surrey Memorial needed to efficiently configure a new space for their lab, to find the most productive way for equipment to function while leaving room for future demand.
With so many moving parts, a systematic approach was needed. They first reached out to Roche to help plan the process. Right away, several incremental steps were put in place to initiate and measure the process of change.