Lab Leads with Team-Based Vision

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , March 16, 2012

But she's even more proud of the results because it took teamwork from across the service lines of the organization to make it successful, as well as empowerment from the highest levels of the organization.

"In that environment, people come together focused on the same results," she says. "I often get the question ‘how do you get your docs to do this or how do you get nurses to do that?' I can't help them, because when we approach any patient care models driven by technology, we're a team." 

While decisions on such specialized scientific and technological changes can't be driven from the top levels of the organization, says Quinter, culture is and should be.  

"Because we embrace innovation, our administration places trust in us, but we have to prove it at the same time," she says. "Fundamentally, the most important thing is that the administration has trust in people they've selected to drive patient care models."

The impact of such a small change in process likely goes far beyond the tangible. And while this particular change in testing protocols has had a dramatic effect, it was enabled by Kettering's focus on process improvement generally.

"We map the course the patient should take without waste," says Quinter, "Every time the diagnostic doesn't meet our needs, we send the patients off that direct path. If you have a conventional lab test that takes too long and isn't sensitive and specific, that creates waste and costs dollars."

Quinter often speaks at professional conferences about her experience in cutting waste and improving accuracy in the lab, and she's often asked where to start.

"The bottom line for that is you have to define and understand your current process. That's where organizations fall short," she says. "You have to understand your current process in order to improve it."

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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