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Diagnosing the Clinical Lab Workflow

Fortune favors the prepared mind

Louis Pasteur

The concept of disease was first introduced by Hippocrates more than two thousand years ago [1]. 1. Hundreds of years later, pioneers like Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch demonstrated to the world how a microscope can identify of the causes of diseases.  Today, Clinical Lab is a $50 billion industry in the United States alone and medical diagnostic testing influences 70% of all healthcare treatment decisions [2].

The 21st century Clinical Lab exemplifies the rapid pace of implementing advances in technology and science to facilitate the efficient and accurate diagnosis of medical conditions.  For example, tests which were unimaginable a few years ago, are routinely completed in just a few hours today.

Unfortunately, this impressive combination of science and technology does not extend to the average Clinical Lab’s inbound workflow.  A typical lab spends hours each morning opening  and sorting through specimen packages to determine who has sent material for testing and which tests need to be conducted.  The need for these inbound processing efforts stems from the way a package is typically prepared.  The average specimen package is transported using a shipping label that may have sat in a clinic’s office for months.  While the package arrives at the Clinical lab intact and on time – information about the specimen has not been communicated prior to arrival. 

What if the lab could be alerted regarding requests for testing – when the specimen was being prepared for transportation?  Technology solutions from UPS can provide a Clinical Lab visibility into materials being prepared for transport before these packages are even on the way to the lab.  With just a few clicks on a special webpage, a “smart” package is created and labs can be alerted that material will arrive for testing the next day.

UPS_Infographic_healthcare-clinical-labs-FINALHow do you leverage technology to improve the Clinical Lab inbound workflow?  

  • The critical starting point is a to create “smart” packages 
  • By capturing information when material is being prepared for transportation, the Clinical Lab is alerted to an incoming request for testing and can prepare their workflow for the coming day.
  • Additional information can be captured when material is being prepared for transportation, this information can be transmitted to the Clinical Lab and even printed as a scanable barcode to increase inbound workflow efficiencies.

What other benefits of “smart” packages do you see? 

1  On The Hippocratic Revolution: The Traditional Healer’s Handbook by Hakim G. M. Chishti Copyright 1988 by Healing Arts Press – Rochester, Vermont, pp. 11 – 12

2  The Reimbursement Landscape for Novel Diagnostics, Health Advances, 2010

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