Lab Departmental Assessments

Anatomic Pathology (AP) Lab Assessments

Solution: The AP Lab specializes in the analysis of tissues and organs removed from the body through biopsy or surgery, and it is key to providing accurate and timely diagnoses of various diseases and conditions by examining and analyzing these tissue samples. The AP Lab’s workflows are unique from the clinical lab – including grossing, processing, embedding, microtomy, staining, and case assembly. Service to pathologists is also essential for the reading of slides and making diagnoses based on the characteristics of the tissue. 

Benefit: Accumen provides a comprehensive Anatomic Pathology lab assessment by SMEs to enable this highly intricate and complex area to transform to an optimized state. Our experts work closely with operational and pathologist leaders to understand value add versus non-value add processes and activities.

Pre-Analytical Assessment

Solution: Phlebotomy draws may be completed by phlebotomists, nurses, or other staff. Specimen accessioning is the section of the laboratory where specimens are received, sorted, entered into the Laboratory Information System (LIS), and labelled with barcodes. Specimen processing is where samples are centrifuged.

Staff working in these three “pre-analytical” areas must have a considerable amount of attention to detail, as they are the “front door” of the lab and the beginning of the workflow. Followed by the “analytical” (testing) workflow and the “post-analytical” workflow, this pre-analytical phase must have rigorous processes in place to prevent problems that travel further “downstream.”

Benefit: Accumen provides a comprehensive pre-analytical workflow assessment by SMEs to ensure all processes add value, are streamlined, and support the best overall turnaround time and accuracy for testing. The pre-analytical area may function differently based on the overall size of the laboratory, for example, labs may have full lab automation, partial automation, or no automation. In any case, workflows should be Lean and remove any opportunity for patient identification error to occur.

Core Lab Assessment

Solution: This assessment is appropriate for a service laboratory functioning 24/7 and performing general chemistry, hematology, coagulation, therapeutic drug testing, endocrine testing, and urinalysis. The lab may serve as a hub/core for these tests when there are multiple hospitals in a market or division, typically performing a high volume of tests with some level of laboratory automation, or it may be a mid-size lab performing a smaller test menu.

Benefit: A Core Lab Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of the clinical lab’s primary testing benches. These areas play a critical role in patient care by providing clinicians with essential diagnostic information for a wide range of medical conditions. The Core Lab is the backbone of diagnostic testing for the hospital or service area, and our assessment will ensure the lab is providing timely, accurate, and reliable results while operating in a way that best utilizes internal resources.

Blood Bank/Transfusion Services Assessment

Solution: This department bears the responsibilities of storage, selection or compatibility testing, and distribution of blood and blood products. The availability of safe blood that is easily accessible greatly affects quality of service in the hospital, while also preventing patients from mortality due to blood loss. An optimized workflow is essential to providing timely and safe services to patients and clinicians.

Benefit: Accumen provides a comprehensive evaluation of the processes and procedures used in blood bank, performed by SMEs to ensure that the department is compliant with applicable standards and regulations as well as operating efficiently. Areas of focus may include blood collection and processing, testing, inventory management, product issuing workflows, and quality management, to ensure that the department adheres to strict protocols and attention to detail for the safety and efficacy of transfusions.

Flow Cytology Assessment

Solution: Flow Cytometry is a department where testing personnel use a laser-based technique to detect and analyze the chemical and physical characteristics of cells or particles. These test results can check the number of immune cells, assess cell cycle status, identify cancer cells, or analyze DNA. Flow cytometry is typically performed in laboratories with a high volume of test requests.

Benefit: Flow Cytometry may be performed in a stand-alone department or combined into another work cell such as hematology. Flow Cytometry testing often requires special workflows and specific staff training, so our team will evaluate this department’s infrastructure – including the availability, performance, and maintenance of flow cytometers and associated analytical software.

Point of Care (POC) Assessment

Solution: Point of Care (POC) typically encompasses any tests that are performed at or near a patient and at the site where care or treatment is provided. This testing is also typically performed by non-laboratory personnel and highly regulated for quality. The laboratory is generally responsible for the oversight of the POC program. Oversight includes quality, training, and competency of personnel performing POC tests, and oversight/management of technology middleware that provides immediate and remote access to patient and quality control results from POC testing devices.

Benefit: Accumen provides a comprehensive POC assessment by SMEs to ensure that tests are appropriate, regulatory and quality requirements are met, and labor allocations to support the POC program are adequate. The assessment may also review the cost-effectiveness of the POC testing program, including the cost of the equipment, reagents, and personnel time, as well as the potential savings from more efficient and timely patient care.

Microbiology/Virology Assessment

Solution: This department involves the identification of microorganisms for the diagnosis of infectious diseases and likely responses to therapeutic inventions. In the hospital setting, rapid identification of microorganisms is key to prevention of irreversible damage to patients.

Benefit: Accumen’s assessment includes AFB, mycology, parasitology, and fungal. Areas of focus may include review of lab Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), evaluation of lab safety practices, and consideration of department performance to identify any areas for improvement or needed corrective actions. Continuously improving processes and systems will ensure the highest quality of care for patients.

Molecular Diagnostics Assessment

Solution: Molecular diagnostics are used to guide patient management, from diagnosis to treatment, particularly in the fields of cancer, infectious disease, and congenital abnormalities. Molecular diagnostics, such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, were also crucial in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benefit: Accumen provides a comprehensive molecular diagnostics assessment to review the policies, procedures, and QMS in place in the lab performing this testing. The assessment team will review the laboratory’s processes for specimen handling, processing, and testing, as well as for quality control, quality assurance, and test result reporting. The team will ensure that these are effective, efficient, as well as inclusive of biosafety measures to protect laboratory personnel and the public from infectious agents.

Lab Courier Services Assessment

Solution: Laboratories can utilize third party couriers to transport specimens from location to location or employ their own internal couriers to transport specimens. Lab courier services must provide a safe and reliable way to transport samples with timely delivery, sample integrity, compliance with regulations, and cost effectiveness.

Benefit: In partnership with Accumen Supply Chain experts, an overall assessment of courier services will identify the best value not only to the laboratory but to the organization. The assessment identifies whether specimens are delivered in a timely manner, the integrity of samples is ensured, couriers comply with any regulations, and the healthcare system can save money by insourcing or outsourcing their transportation needs.

Patient Service/Draw Centers Assessment

Solution: A Patient Service Center or Draw Center is a location where individuals can have their sample collected for lab testing. They are typically staffed by trained specimen collection personnel and are conveniently located for patient access.

Benefit: Understanding workflows, patient volumes, and impact on turnaround times is key to ensuring optimal financial return. Assessing a patient service center or a draw center can involve several factors, including the quality of services provided, the level of patient satisfaction, the efficiency of operations, and compliance with regulations and standards. Accumen will review the center’s goals, evaluate its physical space (cleanliness, accessibility, safety), and observe interactions between staff and patients.