Complexity in the diagnostic laboratories industry is growing. There is always a constant need to strike a balance between a range of competing operational and financial priorities. Without proper management of critical considerations, such as managing budgets, personnel, space and customer satisfaction, the ability to deliver quality services can be compromised.
Lab Workflow Solutions’ Consulting Services target the three key elements of laboratory management – Quality, Speed and Cost, and is comprised of four phases. Each phase focuses on specific goals and together with a holistic approach, enables the laboratories to make decisions which will help them to achieve their goals for tomorrow.
In an initiative that started in 2011, Roche Diagnostics has established itself as one of the leaders in Laboratory Benchmarking and performance measurements in the IVD industry. Since then, more than 1,300 laboratories from 13 countries in Asia have participated in our Laboratory Benchmarking survey.
Our Laboratory Benchmarking survey is designed to objectively measure and evaluate key performance and efficiency indicators in the context of Quality of results, Speed of result delivery and Cost-effectiveness of laboratory management and operations. Benchmarking allows laboratory management to identify problem areas that require increased attention as well as those areas where local performance lags behind industry averages.
The unique workflow consulting service adopts an objective and neutral approach to assist in the identification of potential problems and address specific challenges within laboratories. In addition to that, each consultant leverages expertise in laboratory workflow and knowledge in implementing Lean Six Sigma to drive excellence in laboratory processes. We offer a selection of comprehensive consulting packages in three key areas:
- Reduce potential errors – aims to improve the quality of laboratory processes. Six Sigma methodologies are used for identifying and removing the cause of defects, and minimizing the variability in processes.
- Improve customer / staff satisfaction – measures customer/staff satisfaction, identifies opportunities for improvement based on analysis and discussion, and ultimately helps laboratories to meet and exceed customer/staff expectations and requirements.
- Prepare for accreditation – adopts a four-prong assessment approach to gauge the readiness of the laboratory, provide document templates, and work with the laboratory to develop systematic strategies to achieving accreditation.
*IFCC: International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
- Streamline processes – aims to streamline laboratory processes with dramatic improvement, help laboratories implement a more robust process with less waste, better quality outcome, and subsequently better cost-efficiency. This package includes a two day Lean Six Sigma workshop for laboratory staff, outlining its key principles and practices.
- Reduce turnaround time – identifies the bottleneck by analyzing the processing time of sample in the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phase till the result is released. This study will provide laboratories with a clear guidance to reduce variation and expedite high-quality results.
- Increase staff productivity – aims to uncover how productive laboratory staff are, and identify if they are overworked or if there is a need for resource re-allocation to improve overall productivity. Based on the outcome of the study, we will prepare a customized plan which targets staff morale and productivity.
- Optimize workspace usage – uncovers two main areas of waste, namely unnecessary transport and staff movement. This results in the development of a plan to optimize workflow.
- Organize workplace with 5S – aims to re-organize laboratory workplace to improve workflow and productivity.
Package No. 7: Optimize Workplace Usage - Example of a proposed layout with reduced travelled distance
Roche Diagnostics will work with laboratories to determine the most appropriate packages based on each laboratory’s unique needs. Generally, the workflow consulting process takes three months from the start to the outcome presentation, when the consulting team will present their findings and recommendations.
We justify and substantiate the best possible solutions by offering six in-depth tools that are based on facts and findings to accurately evaluate the current situation. These layout and simulation-related tools will not only help the laboratory to meet specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and deliver promised results, but also have the ability to forecast future laboratory expansion.
Lean layout – aims to achieve a Lean laboratory from all perspectives. Professional programs dedicated for designing layout are used to draw and produce laboratory layouts in 2D/3D to facilitate the planning of various work areas and the appropriate instrument location. A laboratory walkthrough video will also be provided for enhanced visualization of the proposed solutions.
Tool 1 : Lean layout - Examples of laboratory layout in 2D and rendered 3D layout to mimic the actual physical workarea :
Turnaround time (TAT) simulation – aims to analyze TAT for key decision making essential for laboratories to achieve world-class TAT performance. Various simulation software tools will be utilized to analyze, interpret and propose the best-fit solutions based on different laboratory scenarios, KPIs, as well as other technical requirements from the laboratory.
Tool 2 : TAT simulation - Examples of simulated data catered to the various laboratory scenarios :
Staff utilization – provides a comprehensive analysis to optimize staff resources. A step-by-step approach which includes analyzing the sample arrival pattern against the availability of full-time equivalent, as well as the use of a timestamp study for the estimation of sample handling time, is adopted to determine work overload, and subsequently, facilitate staff utilization optimization.
Tool 3 : Staff utilization
Workflow visualization – uses the laboratory layout as a visual tool to provide detailed explanation on sample and data flow.
Tool 4 : Workflow visualization - Example of a laboratory layout used to illustrate sample and data flow :
Potential error occurrence – aims to identify waste processes and potential error occurrences within the laboratory. Solutions will be proposed to eliminate potential errors and improve quality, speed and cost .
Tool 5 : Potential error occurrence - Example of a laboratory reducing potential error occurrences through automation :
Auto-verification – aims to facilitate the development and implementation of auto-verification algorithm in the laboratory through a two day workshop.
Tool 6 : Auto-verification - Example of information flow within a laboratory and example of verification algorithm :
We as Roche Diagnostics are committed to delivering the best-fit laboratory solution to address the complex and changing needs of your laboratory. Various project management tools are adopted to ensure that the process of solution implementation is well-managed and deliver the expected results and to expectations. The team from Roche Diagnostics will go back to the laboratory for data collection at the end of the implementation process and findings from the project performance review will be presented.