Let’s discuss 5 main challenges in lab management.
For an increase in revenue, there needs to be a parallel decrease in expenses and the overall time taken. Managing a whole lot of operations in a laboratory such as appointment scheduling, medical billing, appointment booking, test sample collection, and delivery can be hectic. This article aims to emphasize on the challenges faced by laboratories.
Challenge number one – Laboratory turnaround time
In a clinical laboratory, turnaround time is defined as the time from when a test is ordered until the result is reported to the patient. In some cases, the sample is sent to a tertiary lab, which further increases the turnaround time. After providing the sample for a test, the patient has to either wait in the lab or come back another day, to collect the results. This wastes a lot of the patient’s time.
Solution: Set up a lab management software with an automatic result updation feature, wherein the results of the test will be sent to the the patient through SMS, e-mail or mobile app. This reduces the overall turnaround time and the patient doesn’t have to wait for long.
Challenge number two – Day closing reports
Your end-of-day closing process is critical to maintain accurate financial data. Unexpected delays in financing, errors in documents, and last-minute requests can disrupt the work flow of your laboratory.
Solution: Purchase an efficient day closing report software. Get clear information of how much cash was collected from each point, along with updation of due credits sales and corporate ledgers.
Challenge number three– Access to records
As a lab administrator, you may often have to avoid emergencies or travel plans in order to stay in track with your laboratory operations. This is due to lack of access to the lab records from anywhere outside the premises of the laboratory.
Solution: Set up an interface that gives you access to all records from anywhere. This gives you freedom to check logistics, sales and collections in your lab from anywhere without anything getting in way of administrative activities.
Challenge number four– Internal File Sharing
The lack of limitations in the accessibility of data between the lab employees, is a threat to the patient’s privacy. For instance, a receptionist does not need access to the test results of the patient, while a lab technician does. This is due to the lack of role-based access to data.
Solution: Set up role-based and password-restricted accounts to protect sensitive data. Pinpoint the needs of each role and protect sensitive data using passwords such that access is restricted to the corresponding employee.
Challenge number five– Credit sales settlement
A primary lab may have to make settlements for a tertiary lab, in credit, for the services they offer. Inaccuracies in such credit sales statements can lead to flawed financial reports in your laboratory. This is due to the absence of proper management systems that allow easy entry of these statements.
Solution: Implement a third party login. This allows third parties, like a lab authority, to send and receive lab test samples and lab test results respectively, from your lab, in credit. It gives you the liberty of viewing all the pending dues and dates, therefore allowing you to settle these credits at your convenience.
All the features described in the solutions to these challenges together form a LABORATORY INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (LIMS)/Lab Management System. Getting a system that combines all these features is more beneficial to a laboratory manager because it is more cost effective and allows future expansion. Companies like HODO have successfully managed to implement these into one single system.