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guide to smooth lab operations management

Guide To Smooth Lab Operations Management

Every laboratory works really hard to offer a great experience to its end customer and stand tall in the market. For every great successful business, its operations are the key factor that derives its success graph. 

For medical laboratories too, smooth operations significantly matter for comprehensive business benefits. So let’s understand lab operations deeply and design a guide to streamlined lab operations management.

Lab Operations Management: Overview

Lab operations in just not handling sample life cycle, and reporting. It is way beyond that. It widely includes managing the budget, stepwise process, staff allocation, equipment calibration, workflow handling, and much more.

Factors That Matter In The Lab Operations –

  • Define Processes & Workflows

Process definition and design mainly involve lab SOPs adhering to international or national standards. Workflows enable better process cycles for a particular test to improve throughput. So when you add a new test, you must define processes and workflow that keep quality maintained. 

  • Allocate Budget

Planning and allocating the budget appropriately helps you keep every process functional. These can cover the budget for inventory, staff fees, payments, and other essential areas. To plan right, you must have the correct financial data for your entire business operations. So, you can compare, analyze and take wise decisions for your business’s future.

  • Allocate Resources

The importance of resource allocation was widely observed during the COVID-19 pandemic when the demand from patients was extremely high. Again, these resources go from staff to inventory, technology systems like LIMS, etc. Smart distribution or utilization of resources helps you manage heavy volumes and workloads for all laboratory operations without any worry.

  • Machine Calibration & QC

Machine calibration and quality control offer a sustainable continuity to entire laboratory operations. The process of machine calibration and QC helps you keep leakages away and prevents compromised processing quality.

  • Sample Lifecycle Management

A smooth and streamlined sample lifecycle management leads to smooth and streamlined lab operations management. Any impact on the sample lifecycle directly affects lab operations and other depending factors to it.

  • Reporting & Validation

Reporting and validation have highly redundant, error-prone, and time-consuming tasks that affect the post-analytical phase of lab operations. Enabling a streamlined and digital approach is the new normal to keep these processes smooth & sustainable.

  • Handle Staff Roles & Training

While technology is leading in the healthcare sector it is important that staff roles stay up to date and get proper training. This helps you stay compliant with SOPs and stay at the top with new health techs too.

  • Research & Development

R&D affects standard operating procedures for laboratory tests. So, it also affects the operational flow. This is because of new research in the diagnostics field. For example, molecular testing has made drastic improvements in its SOPs after the growing rate of infections worldwide.

Why Laboratory operations is the core part of a diagnostics business?

There are four pillars to secure and smooth lab operations:  process, staff, management, and analysis

Process

Lab operation can be divided into three phases: pre-analytical phase, analytical phase, and post-analytical phase. These phases mainly refer to a sample’s journey in the lab. 

Every process and step in lab operations can take you to the right path of growth. If you lack potential and the right decisions for your lab operations, you directly are affecting your business. This is why it is the core of your diagnostics business. 

  • Pre-analytical phase
  • Analytical phase
  • Post Analytical phase

When implementing smooth end-to-end processes for each of these phases, the end results are qualitative, error-free and TAT optimized. Automation and compliance make this easily possible for medical labs of any shape or size. 

Sample Life Cycle Management

The sample lifecycle is crucial and requires effective handling, a better data collection, and management approach, and a tracking mechanism. This will ensure no damage or sample misplacement or mistakes in the sample journey within or outside your lab. When a sample lifecycle is streamlined and well maintained through a proper standardized process, the maximum of the operational workload is in control.

Staff

New research helps build new SOPs and hence also reflects in technology developments. This is the reason why staff training is important not just at the time of joining but also at equal intervals of time. So, your staff will always be competent and familiar with the ongoing development in the market, keeping operational efficiency enhanced and growing.

Know how training your staff about laboratory information management systems can help here.

Management

Team management exercised well positively impacts operational performance. It is a very essential base to efficiently enable a better & productive lab operations cycle for all departments and centers of your lab business.

Analysis

While every other process involves protocols, management, and training, the right information at the right time will drive you in the right direction. Hence, analysis of your lab operations and their procedures will help you derive potential bottlenecks, analyze delays and assist you in taking necessary corrective actions for future growth.

How To Monitor Lab Operations?

At analysis, the metric that you must measure helps you understand laboratory operations closely. These include:

  • Turnaround Time

The time to complete a process cycle is termed turnaround time (TAT) in laboratory management. Know how to calculate Turnaround time and steps to optimize turnaround time.

  • Throughput (Volume Processed / Day)

Sample volume processed per day is critical for medical laboratory operations. If the throughput increases with minimal TAT, it is a major boon for your business. Know how Paranjape Diagnostics managed to grow its throughput using the best-in-class system worldwide.

  • ROI

An upscale graph of your Return on investment (ROI) indirectly defines operational efficiency throughout your lab. If it does not reflect on your ROI, it indicates that your operations have leakages. Check for financial, operational, inventory leakages & other gaps to maintain operational efficiency

New-Age Solutions That Boost Operational Performance & Productivity

Here’s a list of new-age solutions that can help you implement better operational performance and enable productivity –

Use LIMS Software for your medical lab

LIMS Software for medical labs can automate end-to-end laboratory operations to streamline step-wise processes. So you eliminate redundant, manual, and tedious workloads for staff. A cloud-based LIMS further helps to make information accessible in real-time that assists in quick decision-making for all departments & centers from a single location.

Standardize every process

A standard process helps you help quality at the peak of your laboratory operations. Technology today follows regulated norms to help you adhere to standardization without compromising on the quality of service. Leveraging the best LIMS with an all-in-one solution, automated payments, sample automation, and tracking, offers a guide to collecting and processing samples as per international standards and more which will help you standardize with minimal effort.

Leverage sample accession & tracking

Sample accession, standardization, and tracking help to segregate and batch samples. So you reduce turnaround time (TAT) for internal lab operations and outsourcing as well. Labeling samples using barcodes help you track samples at every stage, right from sample collection to acknowledgment, processing, and archival.

Utilize calibrated, interfaced instruments

A machine that is well-calibrated, quality-checked, and interfaced with the LIMS system can help you boost operational TAT. It will also help you enable hassle-free and error-free operations throughout your lab. This will help staff to focus on more important tasks that assure growth.

Bottomline – 

Understand operations management for your laboratory, the factors that affect its performance, what are the key categories of operations, and how you can monitor it the right way.

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