Our Blog

The Need for Competency Management Systems in Radiology

December 03, 2021
The Need for Competency Management Systems in Radiology It is critical for medical staff, especially in robust imaging departments, to stay inspection ready. This is an ongoing task, and the best compliance strategies should be designed around competency assessment efforts. For radiology centers, where imaging processes require manual calibration of sophisticated equipment with potentially hazardous exposures, managing competency is a top priority. To help an organization conf...
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Supply Chain Woes – How Hospitals are Coping and Looking Ahead

November 19, 2021
This is the second article in a series on Supply Chain issues in healthcare.  To see all StaffReady blog posts, click here.   Container ships are languishing on the West Coast while multi-faceted supply chain problems affect almost every US market. How are health systems being affected, and how are they tackling the issues? Hospitals are no ...
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The Impact of Supply Chain Disruptions in the Laboratory Industry

November 05, 2021
This is the first article in a two-part series on Supply Chain issues in healthcare. To see all StaffReady blog posts, click here. In response to a global health crisis, clinical laboratories are feeling the crunch in more ways than one. An ever-increasing demand for COVID-19 testing along with products to support the management of COVID-19 patients has forced many laboratories to shift priorities. And supply chain ...
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Diversion Prevention Technology for Pharmacy Systems Management

October 27, 2021
Preventing drug diversion, especially regarding controlled substances, is an important role for pharmacy management. This is especially true considering that up to 15% of healthcare professionals will misuse substances during their careers, a statistic that matches the general population. However, pharmacy is often in the reactive position of responding to diversion that has already taken place, sometimes weeks or months after the actual event. This complicates and impedes pharmacy’s abili...
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Not all Scheduling Solutions are the Same – a StaffReady Success Story

October 15, 2021
The number one priority for the employees I manage is their schedule.  We provide 24/7 operations, and without a clear schedule posted in advance, my team members would be unable to plan their lives or come to work prepared, much less focus on patient care.  Creating, organizing, and publishing a pharmacy department schedule is a complex, ongoing management responsibility.  My focus is producing a schedule that clearly designates who is doing each task for each day at e...
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Quality and Point of Care Testing – Part 2

September 24, 2021
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of quality in the pre-analytical phase of Point of Care (POC) testing. In Part 2, we will cover the quality aspects impacting the analytical and post-analytical phases. Analytical Quality Traditional POCT operators are non-laboratory trained personnel lacking a firm grasp of laboratory principles and the importance of quality control (QC). One of the ways device manufacturers address the need to ensure the ...
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Quality and Point of Care Testing – Part 1

September 10, 2021
It is reported that 70% of clinical decisions are based on test results more often generated in a permanent laboratory. As technology has become more mobile, the laboratory has been miniaturized into portable testing devices. The wide –array of POCT devices include glucometers, urine readers, blood gas analzyers, and pregnancy tests. These devices (and many others) makeup Point-of-Care-Testing (POCT) and have tra...
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Sterile Compounding: How To Minimize Microbial Infection Risk During COVID-19

September 03, 2021
Considerations for Sterile Compounding During COVID-19 The SARS-CoV-19 pandemic has upended the healthcare field for more than a year and a half. Besides an impact on infection control practices and staffing considerations, the pandemic has...
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Impacts of Delayed Routine and Preventative Care

July 09, 2021
Just as the healthcare community begins to regroup from prolonged pandemic conditions, it is faced with a new challenge – the “catch-up” period. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the routine healthcare flow dramatically as providers had to scale back operations and patients avoided care out of...
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Improving Employee Engagement in the Pharmacy

June 11, 2021
Editor's note: we first published this post on 09/04/2020.  It was one of our most-read columns, and we thought you might enjoy it again.  Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. It is what separate...
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Clinical Workforce Management Software

May 28, 2021
Employee turnover or "churn" affects every hospital department.  Turnover carries with it significant costs, and skilled management will work to minimize that cost.  This week, we offer our whitepaper entitled "Reducing Turnover as a Key Outcome of Clinical Workforce Management Software."   In this whitepaper we explore the costs - and the ma...
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Presenting Audit Documentation Electronically - A Survey of Pharmacies

May 14, 2021
Providing documentation during a pharmacy audit is always a challenge. Perhaps you’ve seen carts of binders and files being rolled to wherever the audit team is located. The virtual surveys brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have added another layer of complexity. Manual (paper) records must somehow be presented to an inspector, either one at a time via webcam or by scanning to a file and allowing remote access. At a practical level, these records all need to be double handled – first w...
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StaffReady Partnership Transitions

April 23, 2021
The StaffReady suite of products has enjoyed significant growth since its launch in 2002. What started as a single pharmacy schedule in 2003 has expanded to hundreds of clients in multiple hospital departments across the US and Canada. In 2006, StaffReady entered into a reseller ag...
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Presenting Inspection Documentation Electronically - A Survey of Laboratories

April 09, 2021
Providing documentation during a laboratory inspection is always a challenge. We’ve all seen carts of binders and files being rolled to wherever the inspection team is located. The virtual surveys brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have added another layer of complexity. Manual (paper) records must somehow be presented to an inspector, either one at a time via webcam or by scanning to a file and allowing remote access. At a practical level, these records all need to be double handled ...
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5 Tips For Surviving A CAP Inspection - Updated

March 26, 2021
StaffReady is re-releasing this blog article, originally published in 2018.  It has great content, and some additional information and links have been added.  We hope you find this useful! - Editor I recently went th...
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New Support Features at StaffReady

March 12, 2021
Nearly two years ago, StaffReady implemented a ChatBot feature on our web page and within our application to add support features. We’re moving on to a set of new features in an effort to provide a better user experience and streamline operations. At StaffReady, we do take customer feedback ser...
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Preparing for a CAP Inspection - Part 2

February 19, 2021
In Part I of this series, we talked about preparations a laboratory could make in getting ready for an initial or biennial CAP inspection. Part 2 will focus on preparing staff for a CAP inspection. Staff preparation Laboratory staff are integral to successful laboratory operations. The CAP recognizes this fact and tasks inspectors to ask staff questions to ensure they are aware of the policies and procedures forming the framework of laboratory oper...
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Preparing for a CAP Inspection - Part 1

February 05, 2021
Medical laboratories are highly regulated operations requiring strict adherence to standards and regulations to be granted accreditation. As part of the accreditation process, a laboratory must be inspected. For laboratory staff, the regular inspection cycles produce some of the most stressful experiences they will likely have while working in a lab. Fortunately, whether it is an initial or biennial inspection, there are some standard tasks and duties a laboratory can do to prepare...
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New Feature Announcement - Schedule Observers

January 29, 2021
StaffReady Scheduling has a variety of features to allow for painless, automated scheduling. Schedule Observers is yet another value-added feature in our Scheduling Module. Perfect for both Enterprise applications and department schedules as well. With Schedule Observers, the Schedule Admin can identify individuals that can view schedules but not edit them.  These individuals might be fellow leads or admins that would not normally have access to a given schedule - perfect for sh...
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New Feature Announcement - Question Rotation

January 15, 2021
StaffReady is pleased to announce the recent release of a New Feature: Question Rotation.   With Question Rotation, Admins can create a question bank from which each employee will be randomly assigned a designated number of questions. 

Admins can mix the Rotational Question type with other questions that all employees must answer, allowing them to design exams to better meet your department's needs and goals.  Case Exa...
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Excellence: A Journey, not a Destination

January 08, 2021
This article follows the four-part series on preparedness for a Joint Commission Survey. All four articles in the series can be acces...
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Joint Commission Surveys, Part 4 - Have a Plan

December 18, 2020
This article, “Have a Plan”, is the final installment in a four-part series on preparedness for a Joint Commission Survey. This article addresses being prepared for the details and activities that come with Survey Day. All four articles in the series can be accessed ...
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Joint Commission Surveys, Part 3 - Self-Survey

December 04, 2020
This article, “Self-Survey”, is the third in a four-part series on preparedness for a Joint Commission Survey. This article addresses the process of performing a mock Survey on your own department or facility. Stay tu...
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Joint Commission Surveys, Part 2 - Past Performance

November 20, 2020
This article, “Past Performance”, is the second in a four-part series on preparedness for a Joint Commission Survey. This article addresses a review of your past Joint Commission Surveys. Stay tuned ...
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Joint Commission Surveys, Part 1 - Get Informed

November 06, 2020
This article, “Get Informed”, is the first in a four-part series on preparedness for a Joint Commission Survey. This article addresses the newcomer to Joint Commission Surveys. Future articles will dig deeper. Stay tuned to StaffReady’s ...
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How Scheduling Automation Improves Employee Morale

October 23, 2020
In Times Like TheseIt’s close to the end of 2020, and everyone in healthcare is gearing up for another projected wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. The US healthcare system is in the ninth month of crisis management. As the weeks drag on, the normal stres...
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Making the Best Use of Laboratory Checklists - back by popular demand!

October 02, 2020
Note: this post originally appeared in March 2020.  It's received quite a bit of attention, so we've updated it and are posting it again.  ~editor As we all know, preparing for an inspection should never be a last-minute activity....
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New Reports Dashboard - Feature Announcement

September 30, 2020
Starting Wednesday evening, 09/30/2020, our Reports options will have a whole new look. As a part of our Discovery process, we've taken Customer feedback and presented our reports in a more intuitive way, and added in some improvements as well. The reports will also load faster - certain t...
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Conversations about Bias in Healthcare

September 18, 2020
The problems of discrimination and oppression have recently risen to the surface of the American psyche as a result of the horrific acts of violence committed against Black and Brown people recorded and shown unfiltered to the public. The videos have caused protests to erupt across the nation. Regardless of where an individual resides on the political spectrum, the unrest is concerning. The workplace is not immune to events happening in the country. Despite the expectation for empl...
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Improving Employee Engagement in the Pharmacy

September 04, 2020
Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. It is what separates those that are content and those that go above and beyond to see the organization succeed. More and more organizations are shifting a large focus to employee ...
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The Discovery Process at StaffReady

August 22, 2020
As a company, we’ve spent almost twenty years designing the core technology and features behind StaffReady. One of the secrets of our success has been regular input from our clients and other industry experts since the very beginning. Your success is our s...
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Feature Spotlight: Uncovering Competency Mysteries

July 29, 2020
There are mysteries hidden in your department. Even the best of your staff members, they carry secrets. Secrets related to how they’re handling their assessments and what they’re telling you they’ve done. Those secrets are easy to keep hidden, until it’s time for an audit. Then, the moment of truth arrives: “Oh yeah, I was wondering about that assessment. I thought I took it last August. I never did get a score back.” ...
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Changes to a Staffing Model During a Pandemic

July 10, 2020
As Operations Manager for a hospital Pharmacy Department, these past few months have been a whirlwind as we adapted to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-March, we went into high gear to swiftly adopt new, hospital-level protocols and make changes in our own department that reflected those guidelines. New safety guidelines, PPE, changing our workflows and staffing levels, all in the manner of a few weeks. Even with all this, we still tried to provide the best work-life balance possible...
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Lab Productivity During a Pandemic

June 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed significant operational challenges to the laboratory’s mission to deliver high-quality, accurate diagnostic test results in a timely manner. Within a few short months, significant changes have been made to testing procedures, procuring personal protective equipment (PPE), and balancing staffing loads. Laboratory leaders have had to adopt new ways of thinking and managing to navigate the changes. Regardless of the solutions to complex issues,...
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Prepare for the Next Pandemic at Your Hospital, Laboratory, or Pharmacy

May 30, 2020
The SARS-COV-2 virus has captured the world’s attention in just a few short months. We watched the scientific community respond to a new disease, isolate the virus, suss out its genetic code, and determine its immunological characteristics. Within healthcare facilities the world over, both existing and new protocols went into hyperdrive. Laboratory assays were created and sold. Dozens of Clinical Trials were initiated. PPE protocols were updated. Testing Procedures and Compet...
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Document Accountability in a Crisis

May 16, 2020
On a normal day, you’re primarily in your office but today, you’re on the floor covering for someone who is out sick. Out the corner of your eye, you notice one of your staff carrying out a procedure using an outdated method. Didn’t he get the message? We talked about this at the staff meeting two days ago! You drop what you’re doing, pull the employee aside, show him the current procedure, and instruct him to use it going forward. Later in your office, you have...
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5 Tips for Scheduling During a Crisis

April 30, 2020
“All hands on deck!” A familiar shipmates’ cry, but one also being heard in healthcare managers’ offices around the country. Whether it’s COVID-19, a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, or an accident on a freeway, the staff in nursing, laboratories, pharmacies, radiology and other departments rise to the challenge when disaster strikes. For many of us, it’s why we got into healthcare in the first place. We want to help others and contribute to the common good....
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Making the Best Use of Laboratory Checklists

March 27, 2020
As we all know, preparing for an inspection should never be a last-minute activity. Constant discipline and a steadfast dedication to quality are both required. Having the right tools to maintain that vigilance is essential. Today we will go over one obvious but oftentimes underutilized resource you all have at your disposal – checklists from your accrediting bodies. Regardless of the format you have them in – PDF, a text document, or on paper, you can make what I c...
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Working from Home – Not an Option

March 05, 2020
Facts about COVID-19 By this time, I am sure that you have had your fill of COVID-19 related articles. The illness, while relatively mild, is new and comes with a higher mortality rate than the annual varieties of influenza we experience every year. It is also highly contagious, and is of course dangerous to certain at-risk population...
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What would Spock say about your lab?

December 06, 2019
We all know Science Officer Spock, right? Cool. Calm. Logical. What do you suppose he would say about your lab? Are your test menu choices logical? Are your workflows lean and efficient? Are your records and documents pristine? Are you fully staffed? Did everyone score 100% on their Competency assessments? Is your staff ...
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Top 6 Reasons to use StaffReady Document Control

November 20, 2019
A Document Control system is a necessity in the modern healthcare workplace. Policies, procedures, forms, worksheets, memoranda (and many others) all require a uniform method to write, review, approve and distribute, as well as to serve as a knowledge base for your staff. Sadly, many solutions on the market today trap the enterprise in a rigid structure that lacks the flexibility to meet common workplace challenges. Like sections in an orchestra, your Pharmacy, Radiology, Laborator...
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Feature Spotlight: Enforce Rotations

October 14, 2019
You’re a lab manager or supervisor. You earned your degree, went through your internship, and got that memorable first job. Perhaps you worked through different jobs along the way. You know the Jaffe’ reaction, the ins and outs of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system, and could still do a manual differential if you had to. The problem is, college and training may have missed a few things: “Team Morale” was never mentioned in Chemistry...
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The Value of Strong Vendor Relationships

September 17, 2019
Laboratories are relying increasingly more on automation and unique software solutions in order to deliver quality patient results within an expected turn-around time. As they also struggle to replace empty positions and maintain a cohesive team, few relationships are as important as those that exist between lab scientists and vendors. Developing strong working partnerships with vendors does require time and patience from both parties, but the value it offers is mutually beneficial...
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Retaining Laboratory Talent is Critical

August 26, 2019
Whether you’ve been in the lab for one year or for thirty, you are probably all too familiar with working “short-staffed”. For years, the laboratory workforce has been in decline as laboratory education programs close and baby boomers retire. For those of us in urban areas, we have not really felt this impact quite as much as other parts of the country, where finding trained laboratory professionals to fill open positions grows increasingly difficult. For urban a...
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Clinical Workforce Management Software

July 29, 2019
Decades ago, automation changed the face of laboratory testing forever. However, the methods to manage the people staffing the laboratory have changed little: Paper competency assessment forms. Paper schedules posted on the wall. Procedure manuals with signatures in ink on paper. 1950 or 2019? The problems that arise from these outdated, unreliable systems also remain largely unchanged:...
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Using Employee Priority Settings to Fine-Tune Your Schedule

June 04, 2019
At StaffReady, we strive to create functional, easy to use and intuitive software. We are not after just a raw list of features – we want to build excited customers! To that end, we’ll be showcasing some current and new features in the months to come. Our newest Feature Spotlight is “Using Employee Priority Settings to Fine-Tune Your Schedule.” The Scenario: If your operation is anything like the ones I’ve managed in...
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Integrating Scheduling and Competency

May 06, 2019
At StaffReady, we strive to create functional, easy to use and intuitive software. We are not after just a raw list of features – we want to build excited clients! To that end, we’ll be showcasing some current and new features in the months to come. In this second installment of our Feature Spotlights, we will be highlighting Integrating the Scheduling and Competency modules. Managing a workforce is a challenge, whether it be in the Laborator...
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Persevere Through PAMA

April 15, 2019
Persevere Through PAMA Now more than ever, clinical laboratories need to be focused on implementing lean processes. Along with the challenge associated with finding qualified professionals, labs are now also tasked with surviving through the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA). PAMA dramatically changes the way in which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determines its pay rates for specific lab tests. In the past, CMS pay rate...
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9 Signs Your Spreadsheet (and maybe your administrator) Has Reached the Breaking Point for Staff Scheduling

March 14, 2019
If you are using a spreadsheet to manage staff schedules in the laboratory, pharmacy, nursing or other departments, it may be time to examine whether it has exceeded its ability to help you. A spreadsheet is a software solution that does a good job at organizing certain types of data and doing calculations but does not handle the complexity of many scheduling environments. A spreadsheet is definitely an upgrade from paper, no question. However, the staff administrator must still:...
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Feature Spotlight: Availability Override

February 28, 2019
Feature Spotlight: Availability Override At StaffReady, we strive to create functional, easy to use and intuitive software. We are not after just a raw list of features – we want to build excited customers! To that end, we’ll be showcasing some current and new features in the months to come. Our first Feature Spotlight will be Availability Override in the StaffReady Scheduling module. The Scenario: Ideally, ...
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Six Common Roadblocks to Successful Competency Assessments

October 26, 2018
Despite our best efforts in the laboratory, Competency Assessment remains one of the most cited deficiencies at regulatory inspections. Guidelines, education, and articles can help us to know what our competency assessments must entail, but actually being successful in implementing and maintaining a successful competency program still seems like a lofty goal for most clinical laboratories. ...
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The Five Most Common Inspection Deficiencies and How to Avoid Them

July 25, 2018
Laboratories across the country are continuously introducing more sophisticated testing into their routine test menu. At the same time, our career field is struggling for resources and regulatory requirements are becoming increasingly rigorous. ...
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Life doesn't have to be so hard. Lean labs make life easier.

June 12, 2018
It’s so easy to get used to a certain way of life or be immersed in a particular culture, to the point that we are almost blind to alternate ways of doing things. This is often the case in the lab, where many of us have been there for years and years, and this is “just the way that we do things”.  ...
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Automating Manual Processes for 21st Century Lab Leaders

May 01, 2018
I suspect you’ve been there – attending a department leadership meeting.  You went in preoccupied with a variety of issues: problems with the new immunology assay, disappointed that the early Marketing estimates for the new assay seem to be more “myth” than “math,” wondering how you’re going to cover another 6-month FMLA leave request, and getting all of your documentation ready for your inspection window.   A lot, to be sure – but you could handle it.  ...
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Six tools every lab should start using today

April 18, 2018
Do you ever stop to think about where we were in the lab just 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago? I don’t need to tell you that times sure have changed. Technology has not only improved the technical and scientific aspects of our labs, but also the day-to-day, run-of-the-mill administrative ...
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Automation vs The Human Touch

April 05, 2018
Laboratories across the world are tasked with increasing productivity and efficiency while maintaining safety and quality. One of the ways this has been made possible is with the introduction of laboratory automation. Automation increases productivity, decreases turn-around-time, standardizes workflow, and delivers valuable data collection. Laboratory automation has also been proven to help labs set new safety goals and evaluate new acceptable standards. See ...
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5 tips for surviving a CAP inspection

April 03, 2018
I recently went through a CAP inspection for our lab. In fact, it was my sixth time having gone through an inspection. And even after this much experience, my nerves were on edge awaiting the inspector’s arrival. Prior to an inspection, lists of to-do items run through my head as the dat...
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Managing the Winter Blues

February 01, 2018
For much of the northern United States, the winter doldrums have arrived. The post-holiday months of February and March loom before us, dark, cold and wet in some fashion. You arrive to work in the dark, and you leave work in the dark. Fluorescent lab lights artificially illuminate your li...
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Reduce Your Competency Burden

December 27, 2017
Competency. Assessment.Are your hairs standing on end?Are shivers running down your spine? Hopefully not! It's not that bad, right? But managing your competency assessment program is most likely not your favorite thing about working in the lab. It's time-consumin...
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Life in the Lab: Reality Vs Media Portrayal

November 08, 2017
“What do you actually do in a laboratory?” Most Medical Laboratory Scientists agree that they are regularly challenged to explain our industry and dispel myths about the day in, day out work we do in our labs. Media portrayals further muddy the waters...
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He said. She said. Gender in the lab

October 03, 2017
I recently saw a meme posted in one of the laboratory Facebook groups where a man wearing a lab coat was standing in the middle of the lab holding his ears, as his numerous female coworkers “clucked” all around him. Picture a rooster in the barnyard with hens all around him. Whether ...
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Minding the gap between generations

May 30, 2017
One of the biggest challenges for me as a laboratory leader is learning how to manage the widening generation gap between employees. The majority of laboratories are currently staffed by technical personnel in either the baby boomer or the millennial generation. Both groups have irreplaceable value...
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CLIA, CAP, JCAHO: Six steps to being inspection ready … perpetually!

May 06, 2017
AACC recently released their Top Deficiencies in the Nation. If you take a moment to peruse the list, you may easily spot some commonalities among the cited regulati...
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I’m a supervisor. Now what?

April 26, 2017
From bench to leadership. Four years ago, I made the move from bench scientist to a technical supervisor.  While I expected to be unfamiliar with certain aspects of the position, I found I was actually minimally prepared for a few of the key responsibilities of the positio...
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3 ideas to standardize your lab

March 03, 2017
In a highly regulated environment like the clinical laboratory, it’s easy to assume that we’ve got things covered when it comes to standardization. The regulations, requirements, and standards that we follow sort of spell things out for us. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for standa...
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Marketing the laboratory career to millennials. 5 strategies to enhance your recruiting efforts

February 22, 2017
As a medical laboratory scientist and supervisor of our lab’s hematology department, I often sit in on interviews for open positions and take an active role in the employee selection process. If your lab is anything like ours, recruiting to fill an open position is no easy feat. Unfortunately, t...
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Promoting Visibility: Unveiling the "mysterious" world of clinical laboratory science

January 27, 2017
As clinical laboratorians, we know that our important work is performed “behind the scenes.” It is touted as such to prospective students, to fellow allied health professionals, and to our family and friends who don’t quite understand what we do. But this “mysterious” aspect of our work h...
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Nurses in the lab: One lab scientist's perspective

October 10, 2016
Have you heard the news that the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), the government agency that oversees the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), recently issued a ...
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Patient connection: Behind the scenes

September 22, 2016
Medical Laboratory Scientists who work in labs to support patient testing may perform tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of tests every year. These tests give doctors specific information regarding a patient’s current state of health, are necessary to guide initial treatme...
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Competency Compliance 101

August 11, 2016
As laboratory professionals, from the beginning of our careers, we learn that documentation is everything. If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. We speak a language of acronyms: QC, QA, CLSI, CAP, JCAHO, and LI—the list could go on. We live and breathe by regulatory standards and guidelin...
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Competency tug of war: How one lab supervisor tackled this trick task

June 23, 2016
Whether you are making minor changes to your existing competency assessment program or giving it a major overhaul, you can expect some resistance along the way. Each year, the requirements for satisfying competency assessment have become increasingly stringent. While the intent is to ensure the tra...
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