In general, consolidating several microbiology labs into one and automating our processes facilitates innovation and efficiency and creates a safer patient environment. But consolidation and total laboratory automation (TLA) also come with challenges. So, what do pathologists and laboratory professionals need to think about as we transition to centralized labs and implement TLA systems?
On this episode of Inside the Lab, our hosts Dr. Dan Milner and Ms. Kelly Swails are joined by Dr. Sarah Buss, PhD, D(ABMM), Microbiology Director for Northern Light Laboratory and Instructor for the Medical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Maine, Dr. Karissa Culbreath, PhD, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Tricore Reference Laboratories and Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Dr. Mark Fisher, PhD, Medical Director of the Bacteriology, Antimicrobials, Parasitology and Infectious Disease Rapid Testing Laboratories at ARUP and Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Dr. Erin McElvania, PhD, Director of Clinical Microbiology at NorthShore University Health System and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, to discuss consolidation and total laboratory automation in the microbiology lab.
Our panelists share the pros and cons of consolidation efforts in terms of patient safety and laboratory quality, explaining what they do to promote clinician interaction when the microbiology lab is centralized. They describe three popular TLA systems and weigh in on the personnel changes and contingency planning required when bringing automation to the microbiology lab. Listen in for insight on the benefits of decentralizing technology in consolidated systems and learn what innovative features are likely to be added to TLA platforms moving forward.
· What the term consolidation refers to in the laboratory and some examples of how multiple hospitals or health systems can be served by a single lab
· The pros and cons of consolidation efforts in microbiology in terms of patient safety and laboratory quality
· The factors that determine what tests remain at smaller community hospital labs
· How potential cost savings inform the decision to execute on consolidation
· The importance of contingency planning in automated labs
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