Day 2 Summary from CLMA KnowledgeLab

By Jane Hermansen

CLMA KnowledgeLab ’13 Day Two started early! At least is seemed early, after the previous evening’s attendee dinner of fabulous Caribbean-style food, live steel drum music and lots of socializing and networking.  The pursuit of knowledge continued on this second full day of the conference.

A view from the back of the Tuesday morning general session from Dr. Michael Astion of Seattle Children’s Hospital.
A view from the back of the Tuesday morning general session from Dr. Michael Astion of Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Michael Astion of Seattle Children’s Hospital started the day, demonstrating the role of leaders and the overall power that results from involving employees in patient safety activities. Dr. Astion used wit and humor to supplement his message. By using elusive names for things that negatively impact patient safety, we lessen their significance. As an example, the term “Sentinel Event” to a non-medical person may indicate a significant celebration in someone’s life, such as a retirement party. A “near miss” is also a “near hit.” When it comes to patient safety, we must never use code words and as leaders, we must use clear language and set expectations of our employees.

Dr. David Hillyard of the University of Utah presented on the topic of HIV. HIV testing is continuing to evolve, and because the test results are used to guide treatment, laboratory managers must monitor quality control and proficiency testing. The good news is that, with effective treatment today, HIV patients are living with a chronic, rather than a fatal disease. Dr. Hillyard also discussed the importance of not losing focus on the impact of Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B infection. Within the Baby Boomer population, chronic Hepatitis C infection is increasing. Effective treatment is known to slow the progression of disease, and providers are able to “treat instead of transplant.”

My breakout session was from 4:15-5:45 p.m., titled “Benchmarking: Your Laboratory by the Numbers.” Individuals in the audience participated using an Audience Response system and shared their views and experiences related to benchmarking and communicating relevant laboratory information to leadership. The Institution for Healthcare Improvement has a Triple Aim initiative, which includes improving the patient experience, improving the health of populations and lowering the overall cost of care. In order to achieve this Triple Aim, we must ask ourselves four questions: 1) Do you know how good you are? 2) Do you know where you stand relative to the best? 3) Do you know where variation exists? and 4) Do you know your rate of improvement over time? The laboratory must be able to provide data that answers these questions and helps their organization achieve their healthcare goals.

Again, there were 10 other breakout sessions that I wasn’t able to attend, but “man on the street” reviews were positive.

Deb Wells examines her slide presentation prior to her education session on Tuesday.

In addition to oral presentations, we were also fortunate enough to have CLMA members submit posters on management topics, which they presented and were on display in the exhibit hall. I’ve summarized three below:

  1. The laboratory at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida was challenged with supporting their busy Emergency Department with achieving a three-hour patient turnaround. The one-year project involved purchasing an automated line, breaking down departmental boundaries, and changing processes overall using LEAN methodologies. In one area, a single function that took 61 footsteps to complete pre-project, took three footsteps to complete post-project. Turnaround time improved in all areas and employee satisfaction improved by 10 percent.
  2. The laboratory at Virtua in New Jersey also used LEAN processes as the basis for their poster “Reducing Lead Time and Variability to Meet Physician Requirement for 9am Availability of Routine Test Results.” Overcoming an initial employee response that the request would require more staff, this system of four hospital laboratories was able to use LEAN tools to create a more efficient team approach to inpatient phlebotomy. They implemented the visual indicator of the phlebotomy cart in the hallway outside the patient room to show where phlebotomy staff were currently working. Within the laboratory, an area called the “cockpit” is the command center, managed by a phlebotomist who acts as the “pilot.” Phlebotomist progress on the hospital floors is tracked and staff are dispatched as needed. Upon completion, results show 91 percent of results on the chart by 8:30 a.m. Congratulations on exceeding the original goal without adding staff!
  3. National Jewish Labs presented a poster that summarized the results of a survey to identify which clinical quality indicators are most significant as it relates to standardization and Pay for Performance Reimbursement. Via an electronic survey, respondents selected three indicators - Proficiency Testing Performance, Specimen Identification Errors and Critical Results Reporting as being critical to each laboratory’s quality management plan. These same three indicators were identified as most important if we are to link quality and reimbursement together in the future.

KnowledgeLab Day Two was educational, exciting and energizing. There is a half-day tomorrow and then it’s time to return home. I understand that Minnesota weather is currently not comparable to Florida weather. Maybe I'll try to find a way to extend this conference and delay my return home.


[author] [author_image timthumb='on']/files/2013/04/jane-hermansen-mayo-clinic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jane Hermansen, MBA, MT(ASCP), Mayo Medical Laboratories Outreach Program Coordinator has viewed the laboratory industry from many angles. She has been a Mayo Medical Laboratories customer, has worked within a Mayo Clinic testing laboratory, and since 1995 has supported various service, operations and business aspects of Mayo Medical Laboratories. Today she works with hospitals in the development and expansion of their outreach programs. She has spoken on outreach and management topics at numerous state and national professional meetings, and has written several articles for laboratory industry publications.[/author_info] [/author]


Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.