How to tackle Major Challenges in Lab Management
The increasing importance of diagnosis and health checkups amongst customers is the reason why the pathology sector has been growing in demand day-to-day. Yet, managing operations using the traditional approach, sufficient staff, and a handful of resources, have made it quite impossible for labs to fulfill customer needs to the fullest. On the other hand, uncontrolled expense rate, higher logistics time and inaccuracy of service have led to heavier revenue losses and impacted business growth.
For smooth operational handling, enhanced business outcomes and convenient user experience, identifying all major challenges that labs face are much needed along with the effective ways to solve them.
Listed below are the most common challenges faced by diagnostics labs
Managing Information the Traditional Way
Being into healthcare, managing a lot of information related to patients' medical records, and keeping them well-organized is a big challenge for labs. The traditional manner of recording information like using paper or excel sheets is the reason why more time and effort are spent over managing them. Searching for a necessary piece of information like patient records, samples, looking for past copies of reports for current patients, identifying monthly volume from a partner or collection centre in an unordered stack is yet another issue that adds to it.
Solution: Switching to lab automation enables you to record all laboratory information in a digital format enabling streamlined and end-to-end management throughout operations. Having your data electronically available allows you to easily retrieve any record over just a click.
Optimizing Longer TAT
Controlling the turnaround time is a constant major issue for a lab of any size. Pathology centres that are widely dependent on third-party processing units, take longer than usual to deliver results to their customers, reflecting over increasing the waiting time for patients. And, most importantly labs do not know how exactly they can track and measure the turnaround time in order to optimise it for future customers.
Solution: Installation of a lab information management software (LIMS) provides the best way to improve turnaround time. It facilitates tracking and monitoring pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical turnaround time of every test performed. It also allows faster delivery of test reports to end customers through SMS, emails, or mobile apps, and enables you to save logistics time and assure quality experience to patients.
Accounting End-of-Day Balances
With all financial records available over paper or across excel sheets, it is very crucial for staff to produce accurate day closing reports. For a multi-centred lab, generating a daily collection report consumes more time, additional cost and can be subjected to human-error resulting in increased leakages and untraced business losses.
Solution: Buying reporting software that facilitates day-to-day finance management over multiple centres with just a button-press feature is quite feasible. It offers accurate information about the EOD balances, accounts for all types of financial inflows and gives an update about any financial upgrades implemented across all centres.
In addition to the majorly faced challenges of lab administration, there are a few other hurdles as well that contribute towards poor lab management. We have listed them out for you -
Managing Daily Stock
Handling everyday stock and keeping control over it, is quite troublesome. Failing to have a precision over usage, wastage and expired stock reflects over having a constant revenue gap that is even harder to trace.
Solution: Set up an inventory management tool that allows effective stock handling and helps in monitoring their current status. Along with reducing a huge amount of staff efforts, the tool also comes with a feature that keeps you notified about your upcoming purchase date; acting beneficially for plugging leakages that were unmanageable earlier.
Do you know that Dr. Iravatham Lab effortlessly manages Inventory using LiveHealth LIMS.
Effectively Handling Samples
The larger the volume of samples processed every day, the larger is the struggle to manage them. Not to mention the trouble to identify and handle such volumes that are received or sent from a third party customer, having a huge impact on the quality of services and patients’ medical reports.
Solution: Barcode samples right when they are being collected to enable effective outsourcing and handling. Interface all analyzers with your lab software to auto-derive results for patients and offer them a better quality of diagnostic services.
Data Confidentiality and Sharing
The problem with having a few staff to manage operations leads to inconsistent sharing & management of confidential information amongst pathology units. A lab technician approving patient results due to the absence of a signing doctor is a very common example. Neglecting critical reports and sensitive data pertaining to patients’ health can highly affect a lab’s reputation.
Solution: Offer permission-based access control to each employee with a secure password that corresponds to their specific roles and responsibilities. Thus, all confidential data and files can be well-maintained and shared, ensuring validated end-results to all stakeholders.
Billing, Settlements, and Invoices
To generate monthly bills, settlements, and invoices for B2B clients, a lab must be up-to-date with all financial data flow throughout its business. However, inaccuracy of finance handling hugely affects such reports and hampers business relationships with important clients.
Solution: Providing separate logins for B2B clients offers easy tracking of every sample sent or received and their respective results. As a result, you stay updated with all the dues and dates and can settle such credits at your convenience.
As a lab owner, it is important to stay connected with your lab and know about its operational whereabouts. However, to have access to records as well as timely track operations, you require an on-premise presence which is hard to provide for a multi-centred laboratory.
Solution: Adopt an interface that ensures remote accessibility, allowing you to have better connectivity with the on-going operations over every centre. Such a tracking tool can help you identify the performance and operability of individual areas within your organization.
Maintenance issues, system upgrade problems, power-cuts and lack of sincerity at work from employees end up being the prime cause for data loss. With such issues, keeping the security of useful information like patients’ records, bills, invoices, and other essential details remains a bigger concern.
Solution: To get security and all-time backup over your entire laboratory and business data, using a cloud storage platform is nothing but a timeless solution. With cloud, you not only can have a safeguarded warehouse for information storage but also an easy source to access and draw useful records from anywhere.
There are Laboratory Information Management Software (LIMS) available today with cloud-based facility wherein you can get all the above solution-based features that will not just help you overcome the unsettling daily challenges of your lab, but also offer scalable benefits to your business.