“Good data drives good decisions” said Robert Michel at the 2015 Lab Quality Confab, but as Medical Laboratory (#MedLab), how do you ensure that good data are provided by your teams? What are the processes in place to ensure the accuracy of data? What are the tools which allow you to gather the right information in the right category?
Answering those questions often highlight the poor quality of the data you are using and impact the potential improvements (#Improvement) for your entire business.
Basically, from different studies in the North American market, it appears that only 4% of adverse events, errors and non-conformities are generally reported in the #MedLab. Almost all those reported events are strongly linked to the medical activity to properly serve the patient, ie mainly in direct relation with #MedLab specimens or testing; but what about the remaining 96%? Isn’t there a window of opportunity for you to improve your #MedLab #Performance? What does your #LeanSixSigma approach means if you leave on the side around 96% of the events?
Why so few events are reported? There are actually 4 reasons. The first one is about communication as employees don’t even know or can’t either imagine that these events have to be or can be reported. The second is about organization as employees don’t even know to whom they have to report to. The third is about processing as there is often no place to gather that information outside of a spreadsheet not easily accessible. The fourth is about mentality as employees don’t want to be blamed.
The 2 first reasons can be workable with quick wins: define your events and train people to report.
The 2 last reasons need to be closely highlighted to be solved with the right answer for your company.
Tools – Is spreadsheet a solution? What is the total time needed to crunch data and provide analysis? Isn’t it interesting to see that with the underlying goal of removing non value added tasks, you actually create new ones to support the model? That’s where you see a strong need of having clear e-forms to report events and push them into a system providing #KPI’s, #Dashboard and #Analysis. Why don’t you do it as these tools are available? You will lean your processes, will increase your reactivity and will get out from another waste.
Mentality – Are your employees blamed if they do something bad or forget to do something? Do they feel they will be blamed if they do an error? It can be hard for employees to report their own errors or the ones from their colleagues. Nevertheless, how do you want to improve if you don’t have your employees fully trusting their management? Changing mentality can be a long way, and that’s why pushing #LeanSixSigma in the #MedLab embeds employees and requires employee buy-in : honor your team when it does well, don’t blame people when they do something wrong, and communicate that approach clearly ! Driving that culture with specific emphasis on removing the blame when it’s not required, will change the mentality and all employees will start to go in the same direction.
As a conclusion, go and challenge your team on the #Quality and exhaustive nature of the data they use, the time they spend and the potential way to improve the #Process in your #MedLab.
Please, target 96% of events which are not reported instead of the 4% you currently report and you will see a tremendous #Improvement that will benefit your #Customers and your #Finance!
Founding Partner & MD at ComeXium Consulting
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