Consider the following scenario:
Terry is a senior histology lab technician at a large urban hospital. He is responsible for overseeing a team of six junior technicians to process samples for testing. Recently, the hospital has introduced a new process whereby the senior histology lab technician must visually accept and approve the findings of the junior technicians in order for samples to be cleared and entered into the electronic health record for disease diagnosis. Terry has been able to meet this new need for the past few months. However, as more cases are entering the histology lab, cases have started to become backlogged. Additionally, the histology lab hours are restricted to business hours; this has severely impacted the processing of histology samples. Terry is worried that the approval process is not efficient and that perhaps a second senior histology lab technician should be hired to meet around-the-clock demand.
As a current or future health care administrator, how might you address the productivity lag in the histology lab in the scenario?
For this Assignment, review Case 2, “Noninvasive Cardiovascular Laboratory” in Chapter 8 of the text, Managing Health Services Organizations and Systems. Reflect on how you, as a current or future health care administrator, might be required to identify opportunities to improve productivity in an HSO. What types of information might you need to gather? How might you identify whether a process improvement opportunity exists? Then, review the Week 3 Case Questions document in this week’s Learning Resources to complete the Assignment.
Expert Solution Preview
To address the productivity lag in the histology lab in the scenario, there are several steps that can be taken as a current or future healthcare administrator.
Firstly, it is important to gather data and information about the current workflow and processes in the histology lab. This can be done by conducting a thorough analysis of the lab’s operations, including the number and types of samples processed, the time taken for each step of the process, and the resources available for the lab technicians.
Once the necessary information has been gathered, it is crucial to identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the workflow. One way to do this is by using process improvement techniques such as Lean or Six Sigma methodologies. These methodologies involve mapping out the current process flow, identifying areas of waste or delays, and brainstorming potential solutions.
In this specific scenario, it might be beneficial to assess the approval process that Terry, the senior histology lab technician, is responsible for. Is there a way to streamline this process without compromising patient safety? For example, can certain samples be approved by the junior technicians themselves, with only complex or critical cases requiring senior approval?
Furthermore, it may be worth considering the possibility of hiring an additional senior histology lab technician to meet the increasing demand and allow for extended lab hours. This would help alleviate the backlog and ensure timely processing of the histology samples.
Another aspect to consider is the utilization of technology. Are there any digital tools or software solutions that could streamline the process and improve efficiency? For example, implementing a digital system for sample tracking and documentation could eliminate manual paperwork and reduce errors.
Overall, as a healthcare administrator, it is important to continuously monitor and evaluate the productivity and efficiency of the histology lab. This can be done through regular performance evaluations, feedback sessions with the lab technicians, and tracking key performance indicators such as turnaround time and error rates. By staying proactive and open to innovative solutions, productivity lag can be minimized, and the histology lab can effectively meet the increasing demand for sample processing.