Monday, 29 January 2018 11:24

Using Metrics to Improve Clin Micro Lab Performance

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How do you bring data analytics into the clinical microbiology lab? In the most recent Clinical Microbiology Portal’s Hot Topic, Linoj Samuel, Ph.D. D(ABMM) discusses “Metrics in Microbiology” as one way to best assess lab success.

December 2017 Hot Topic: Metrics in Microbiology

Samuel speaks from his experience as the division head of clinical microbiology at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan. This collection of hospitals and health care centers has 52 dedicated clinical microbiology staff members who run 700,000 tests each year. A large lab network can be highly productive, due to its sizeable dedicated staff, but can also present a unique risk of error during shift changes or turnover of personnel. Samuel addresses these and other issues by presenting tools to help monitor work quality and mechanisms to use metrics to improve lab performance.

Samuel emphasizes the importance of accurate measurements, repeating the adage that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Objective metrics can pinpoint areas to improve work flow or training prospects, and Samuel breaks down common metrics used in microbiology labs as well as additional opportunities for quantitatively assessing performance. He highlights the importance of prioritized metrics, such as Gram stain readout, that can have a large influence in patient treatment and outcome.

Of course, gathering large amounts of data doesn’t improve lab performance unless that data is reviewed and used to make data-driven decisions. Samuel recommends periodically setting aside time for the lab staff to analyze the gathered metrics to generate real-time interventions if necessary.

For detailed tips on how to implement metrics toward improving the clin micro lab, be sure to see the December 2017 Hot Topic. Hot Topics are a benefit for ASM members. Becoming an ASM member is easy; simply click here.

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Last modified on Monday, 29 January 2018 11:32