Canada's largest innovation conference on the management and operations of medical laboratories was held in Toronto, Ontario this month to a sold out crowd. Dr Jelena Holovati, Aline Gagnon, Christine Nielsen and Kathy Wilkie participated in a panel discussion that DarkDaily calls "one of the most spirited sessions at Executive Edge". Each of the panelists shared a common understanding and voiced their opinion on the ability of Canada to produce more graduates. This message reflected the national need for increased support and active engagement of laboratories and hospitals to provide quality clinical placement experiences for students that match the educational and human health resource needs of our profession. Among the many valuable sessions, additional presentations provided insight into Lean methodology and multi-disciplinary collaborative strategies within and outside the lab, the national genomic initiative, and impact of new technologies.
In addition to the DarkDaily article, read the Executive Edge 2015 Program for further details.
Inter-professional communication and practice has become a hot topic over recent years. Lucinda Manning, BA, MT(ASCP), RN, assistant vice president and group manager of blood services at ARUP Laboratories is an individual who wears two professional hats. Her career began in a hospital-based lab and moved to nursing thereafter. The experience and knowledge garnered from working on both sides of the ‘hospital hallways’ has provided her with a genuine understanding of why nurses and lab professionals communication doesn’t always match up.
Manning identifies two main professional differences that lead to communication misunderstandings: difference in practice (e.g., flexibility and adaptability of routine tasks based on in-the-moment patient driven needs versus highly regulated policies and procedures for laboratory testing) and differences in patient contact (e.g., increased participant interaction may provide a “false sense” of authority to change labels versus strict labeling guidelines in the lab).
What is the solution? The suggestion to fix these issues has a foundation in communication and education, from the student to administration. "Get laboratory professionals on the patient care floors and get the nurses into the laboratory," said Manning. "Get upper management involved in pushing for a cohesive patient-care team that involves all departments."
Related Publication: Beard, T., Robertson, T., Semler, J., & Cude, C. (2015). A Study of interprofessional collaboration in undergraduate medical laboratory science and nursing education. Clinical Laboratory Science, 28(2), 83-90.
Working with Nurses to Make Our Systems Safer
"In a way, it's kind of like we're on the assembly line and we're putting in that one piece that determines whether or not the patient gets help or not," he says. "But the good thing is that it's a win-win for our patients. Granted, no one wants to find out that they're sick, but if the results indicate something, then their path to recovery begins. If the results are negative, then a patient will have less to deal with in the next few days or weeks. Both sets of results have different but positive outcomes."
In the United States, about half of all medical laboratory technologists and technicians are employed in hospitals while others work in doctors' offices or diagnostic laboratories. Read the story of Donald Solarski, a clinical laboratory technologist who has worked for various Chicagoland medical groups.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman previously announced that the Alberta government would not continue with a proposed plan to expand private laboratory services in Edmonton as a looming contract deadline lay in the background. Alberta Health Services was required to cancel the request for proposals on a $3-billion laboratory contract awarded last year to Sonic (an Australian company).
Two months after the contract was canceled, Alberta Health Services has announced that they have extended their contract with Dynalife Diagnostic Laboratory Services by one year. "This agreement gives confidence to patients and health care providers that this very important health care service will continue without disruption," said AHS CEO Vickie Kaminski in a news release.