Management of Alberta’s $700-million lab services system should be handed over to a new public agency that would be responsible for delivering all medical testing across the province, a new report recommends. In a large scale analysis, the Health Quality Council of Alberta says consolidating medical labs under a central organization provides the best option to address of number of issues stemming from a currently fragmented system (e.g., wait times, decision-making processes, investment stability, support for research).
“There was strong consensus from across the province that the laboratory sector in Alberta is at a key milestone, a tipping point where change is needed,” reads the report which was obtained by Postmedia prior to its public release on Friday. “The status quo was not seen as viable.” Health Quality Council investigators found this fragmentation, combined with the fact Alberta Health Services’ has four different vice-presidents with accountability for lab services, to be a major headache holding the system back.
The plan for an integrated, publicly run lab service model has been the province’s policy since late 2015, when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman blew up an AHS initiative to have all medical testing in Edmonton handled by a single private company. The province has moved forward on its vow by announcing last fall that AHS would take over Dynalife’s operations starting in 2022.
Sometimes a laboratory professional’s insights and expertise make all the difference in a legal case. Consider the mother who lost custody of her newborn because a test showed high levels of alcohol in her blood shortly after delivery. Whether a laboratorian goes to court to give factual testimony or to offer an opinion, the rules are the same, experts said. Know the material, answer questions clearly and succinctly, and stay within your area of expertise.
According to Jim Hilbert, who teaches scientists how to testify, the main role of a scientist in court is to educate the judge or jury. "Your job is not to try to make the case," he commented. "Your job is to simply tell the truth." Sticking with the facts sounds simple, but sometimes pressure rises in the courtroom to do otherwise. As an expert witness, laboratorians need to stay calm and composed in court, even when a colleague they respect tries to discredit them, according to Saeed Jortani, PhD, DABCC, director of clinical chemistry and toxicology at University of Louisville Hospital. "You have to have a very tough skin when you do this," he said. "You have to be able to accept criticism. You have to be able to hold your posture, be very patient, and just answer the questions."
Read the article for more advice - you might just need it.
Every year, 220,000 Canadian patients (approximately one in nine) will develop a hospital-acquired infection during their stay and an estimated 8,000 of those will die. Furthermore, the cost to treat hospital-acquired infection is estimated to be +$100 million annually. Optimal hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to reduce healthcare associated infections. By implementing simple hand hygiene tasks, such as cleaning your hands at the right time and in the right way, lives can be saved. This message is championed at the highest level of government such as the Honourable Jane Philpott, federal Minister of Health.
Thousands of healthcare professionals across Canada participate in STOP! Clean Your Hands Day, which takes place every year on May 5. "Self-improvement doesn't need to be a burden. Small, incremental changes can lead to big things. Not only can you improve your own practices, you're setting an easy to follow example for everyone around you," said Chris Power, CEO, Canadian Patient Safety Institute.