The culture of change in the clinical laboratory environment is important in the health care system. It ensures that the environment is always up to date with the most recent medical needs of patients at any given time. It is also the best way to ensure that technology has been embraced and is beneficial to the health sector. The laboratory environment is one of the most crucial parts of the hospital environment. It is the section of the hospital environment that holds the health of the patients and the safety of the hospital workers. When patients require testing, accuracy or lack thereof, is determined by the environment in the laboratory. When the laboratory environment is up to standard, the quality of the work done are easily certifiable. A standard laboratory is one which has good safety structures and conducive working stations for the technicians to operate in.
There are there areas that require keen planning and structuring within the laboratory environments. These include, the methods of collecting the specimen, the testing of the specimen and the eventual reporting of the results from the tests. The collection of specimen has to be precise and near perfect to ensure that the results achieved are accurate. The testing methods and environments have to be well designed to ensure the safety of the technicians and at the same time prevent the contamination of the specimen. This gives people the chance and opportunity to get quality services and results from the clinical laboratories. The final stage of the laboratory process is the delivery methods and structures of the results. When the results are well documented, the laboratory is said to have good quality operations. The quality of results are what make the laboratory a valid department in the hospital.
The three sections of the laboratory operations are supposed to work seamlessly to ensure that people can always get credible results. Change in clinical laboratory is supposed to be well structured so that it is effective and acceptable. It is also free from resistance by the concerned parties when adequate communication is made (PROSCI, 2017). Communication involves discussions and making plans for the changes to be effected in the laboratory environment. It entails the current structure of the laboratory environment being reviewed and improved to match the new and upcoming laboratory operation standards.
Quality services in the laboratories goes beyond good and credible results to the structures of the laboratory. The materials used in building, the design and the procedures are part of the quality assurance reference points for a laboratory environment. It is important that when putting up a clinical laboratory, all the equipment to be installed is considered. For instance; a laboratory with radiation emitting machines should be well reinforced to protect the people working in it and the patients. The safety of the laboratory workers is the biggest challenge that hospitals face. The laboratory experts are supposed to ensure that anytime a laboratory has problems of safety, it is reported promptly and that is the purpose of change in the laboratory environment.
A laboratory in the clinical sector of the hospital is supposed to cater for most of the diagnosis procedures that doctors undertake. The doctors always work hand in hand with the laboratories in making proper diagnosis for their patients. The tests they recommend guide the laboratory experts on what type of specimen to collect and what kind of solutions to run in testing the specimen collected. The safety of the laboratory technicians is often left to the laboratory workers to ensure. Most of the time that the laboratory technicians get injured in line of duty is caused by either negligence or faulty laboratory structures like fume chambers that have a leak. Such a fault may lead the technicians to develop respiratory issues and this is a failure in the securing the laboratory environment. Such are the things that inspire change in the laboratory environment.
Previous studies have been done on whether the change in the laboratory environment is necessary or not. It has been the argument of many experts that the laboratory structure is made flexible (Allison, The Center for Health Design, 2003). The flexibility is what would allow change to take place often and take into consideration new laboratory operations to upgrade the quality. With the upgrade in technology, the laboratory being the third largest hospital department has not been left behind. It is important to note that the environment of the laboratory has been changing to cut operational costs and produce the best possible results. The efficiency of the laboratories is also considered when designing change in the environments. The basics of laboratories like the surfaces and the equipment to be used is highly considered in evaluating change. The clinical laboratories handle the biggest numbers of tests compared to all other type of laboratories combined (National Centre for BioTechnology Information, 2000). This is because they handle all clinical tests for inpatients, outpatients and medical research tests. The change in the laboratory environment is an important factor to consider when evaluating the quality of laboratory operations.
The changes in the laboratory environments is important in the quality of the laboratory operations. The collection of specimen for testing is supposed to be upgraded to involve more technology and better record keeping systems. The methods and surfaces for use in the laboratory environment have to be of the best possible quality. The methods of reporting on the results of the specimen must also be centralized where possible to serve as reference sources and ensure easy access of patent records on readmission or further treatment. The laboratory changes are necessary to ensure the quality of services a hospital offers are good and safe for the workers and the patients (National Research Council, 2011).
1.5 Specimen Collection
The collection of specimen for test in clinical laboratories is an exercise that requires skill and keenness. Contamination of the specimen often leads to wrong results being found. In a hospital setting, wrong results are usually matters of life and death. It often results in people ending up with health conditions that cannot be reversed due to small testing errors. The equipment used in collecting specimens in the laboratories have to be accurate and adequately upgraded. This is to prevent the possibility of equipment failing and delaying results for patients. In some cases a delay in diagnosis leads to a life threatening situation like permanent paralysis or even death. (Allison, Nature and Rate of Change in Clinical Laboratories, 2003). The method of collection has to be changed to achieve a standard that results in quality. The equipment used to transport specimen must be the latest and most effective type for the quality.
The methods for testing specimens have to be upgraded accordingly and regularly to ensure that the patients being tested get clear results. The methods have to be well structured and thorough for the safety of patients. The technology applied in studying the specimen must be of good quality and standard for the safety of the workers and the patients. (Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards: Updated Version, 2011). The evaluation of the specimen must be of certified quality at all times. This means that at no time will the laboratory technicians give results that cannot be replicated by different people in a different laboratory.
The equipment used for testing specimens in the laboratories is supposed to be designed in a way that enhances the quality of results from the laboratories. The safety standard of the working environment of the laboratory is as important as the results produced from there. It is important that when testing the specimen in the laboratories, the people working in these areas take all the stipulated safety measures. The quality of the laboratory environment is determined by the efficiency of the laboratory operations. The cost of running a laboratory must be proportional to the work load it can handle.
1.7 Results recording and reporting
The recording of results from the specimen has to adhere to good quality also. This means that the records can be read and understood by other people without the assistance of the one who made the tests. The reporting methods for laboratory results have to be well structured and systematic. Step by step reporting is necessary for the doctors to make diagnosis without skipping a crucial sign in the process. Technology is important for the purposes of references and assistance in the future of laboratory improvement projects when dealing with changes. Technology can be used to document progress in a change project by comparing the recording and reporting efficiency of the results.
When the records are easily accessible, then more progress can be made in clinical research projects. Technology in this area is important in enabling change. Laboratory environments have to be designed critically down to the smallest detail to enhance the recording efficiency of the laboratory workers. It is efficient and up to date when the change procedures are well researched and applied.
1.8 Challenges faced in effecting change in the clinical laboratory environment
The cost of upgrading the equipment each time a new one is invented is very high and unsustainable most of the times. Which leads to most laboratories operating with old and outdated technology until they can afford to upgrade what they already have. The cost of training people and arming them with new skills is exorbitant and the technicians may have to pay for their training some times. This will result in the technicians refusing to further their training. The technicians will thus perform less than they are capable of even with new technology in place for laboratory efficiency. Change is difficult for most people and laboratory technicians and assistants are no different. Reluctance by laboratory assistants to engage in research for new laboratory practices is likely to result from lack of motivation and gratification. The environment they already work in could hinder their performances and ambition to engage in research.
Lack of funding is also likely to discourage scientists from taking part in research studies to improve laboratory practices. It is important that the funding is adequate to finance the activities of scientists to improve the quality of laboratory practices. In all areas of the supply chain as well as the service sectors, funding is important. Facilities like laboratories are supposed to operate on nonprofit models but at the same time need a lot of funds for upgrading.
There are many more efficient inventions in clinical laboratory. Publications should be made about them to ensure that they are known and improved to suit the needs of the new health conditions of the people. When there is an awareness, the laboratory technicians are able to adjust their practice to ensure it is top notch and updated. Efficiency means that even the laboratory workers are safe when working under new changed procedures. Efficiency means saving costs and producing quality in terms of results.
Sourcing adequate funding for upgrading laboratory practices and equipment is crucial for maintenance of quality laboratories. Hospitals have to find new ways of generating income and funding for upgrading their equipment. It is important that the laboratory practices are well funded to cater for the creativity of scientists to allow for the possible innovation of more lifesaving innovations.
1.8.2 Value of Change in laboratory environments
Change in equipment and funding in the operations of the laboratories is important because it leads to better and more accurate results from the laboratories. The operations are fashioned around the needs of the patients and at the same time takes care of the safety of the laboratory workers. Their health is as important as the work they do.
When change in the laboratory scene is permitted, people can get creative and innovate better functioning clinical laboratories. Innovation and creativity is usually as a result of people seeking comfort at their places of work. The importance of comfort is that people are in a position to expand their performance abilities. When a researcher has everything available, they can effectively conduct studies and contribute to positive changes in designs. The value of change is well reflected in the quality of results produced from the clinical laboratories. The health care practices overall are improved when less erratic diagnosis are made and people receive quality health care. Hospitals become more efficient and the health services more reliable.
Change in the laboratory operations is likely to be very effective if it improves the accuracy of diagnosis for patients. More accurate diagnosis means less preventable deaths and serious health conditions. Laboratory changes are crucial to the health of people in the society. Change is usually an upgrade which means better performances and efficiencies. The improvement of laboratory environments ensures that the technicians are not exposed to danger while at work. It is important to take of the welfare of workers in the hospitals letting to reduce the occurrence of work related injuries. In the long run, the quality of health care is most important. Improving laboratory practices, environments and structures ensures the safety of health workers. Overall health care is tied to laboratory practices because the diagnosis and evaluation tests are conducted in the laboratories. The tests are the key factors in evaluating the standards of health care and the quality of care in hospitals.
Health care is a very important part of the economy. Change in health care ensures that new health conditions are captured early and can be managed within the shortest time with change in clinical laboratory environments. Laboratory environments require prompt changes and that is how the flexibility in the laboratory structures comes in. A good laboratory system and structure has to be analyzed and evaluated regularly to ensure that the laboratory workers are protected and efficiency is realized from the specimen collection, the testing and recording of the results.
Allison, D. (2003). Nature and Rate of Change in Clinical Laboratories. Boulevard: The Center for Health Designs.
Allison, D. (2003). The Center for Health Design. Retrieved from Nature and Rate of Chnage in Clinical Laboratories: www.healthdesign.org/chd/research/nature-and-rate-change-clinical-laboratories
National Centre for BioTechnology Information. (2000). National Centre for BioTechnology Information. Washington: National Academics Press. Retrieved from National Academy of Sciences.
National Research Council. (2011). Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Mnagemnt of Chemical Hazards. Washington: National Academics Press.
PROSCI. (2017). Roles in Change Management. Retrieved from Prosci: www.prosci.com/change-management/thought-leadership-library/roles-in-chnage-management
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards: Updated Version. (2011). Retrieved from National Academic Press: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK55867/
Radiol, A. (2007). The Prevalence Effect in a Laboratory Environment: Changing the Confidence Ratings. US National Library of Medicine.
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