October 27, 2022
Nobody anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic would result in a fundamental shift towards the remote working environment. Even clinical laboratories are switching to remote or hybrid work employment as the "new normal". However, a clinical lab must implement a detailed work plan when operating in a remote setting. The laboratory must maintain its level of output and efficiency under challenging conditions so that personnel can work in remote places without any disturbances.
Several measures will help any clinical lab working in a remote setting to operate efficiently. Let’s venture more into it.
When working remotely, laboratories can streamline their operations and reduce operational costs through:
If your lab has a remote access LIMS that can be accessed using any Internet-ready device, conducting fieldwork, such as collecting samples and generating barcodes for tracking samples, can be easily accomplished. Moreover, staff working remotely for any clinical lab can capture patient data and transmit all data through a remote access LIMS to the lab in real time.
Who needs the best healthcare services at a fast pace? Of course, patients! By chance, several tools allow lab workers to evaluate past data instantly and check and deliver health updates to patients with 100% accuracy online.
The clinical setting has been made extraordinary by providing devices such as glucose meters to the patients and getting immediate updates that are beneficial to improve their health conditions.
Nevertheless, several healthcare professionals do not consider remote patient monitoring by laboratories a fit in today's time and even consider it a waste of financial resources. Some of the drawbacks of remote clinical labs in their opinion are:
In current times, patients are more health conscious and demand regular diagnoses and checkups. Though laboratories are working hard to bring the best health services to people, they still face challenges while working remotely. Some of the most common challenges that global diagnostic labs face are as follows:
When working at remote locations, sometimes, labs depend on 3rd party processing units, which delays the delivery of test reports to patients. Similarly, they may face challenges in tracking samples and TAT effectively. The practical solution for online working staff is to utilize a remote access LIMS for fast-tracking and monitoring processes and leveraging automation to deliver test results to patients via SMS, emails, or a patient portal.
Managing and controlling daily stock is challenging, which can create trouble for lab staff. The best solution is to deploy a LIMS or inventory management software for managing stock and sending alerts when the count of inventory items falls below a specified threshold limit. It can be done from anywhere by the lab workers and will help in efficiently managing lab inventory.
The vital aspects of lab operations are sample tracking and handling, which remote working teams struggle to manage. If left in the lurch, it may severely impact service quality and may result in loss of samples. The way forward is to use barcoded samples and connect them with your lab software.
Remote lab teams always have a shortage of skilled staff, which might result in the online theft of sensitive patient data and thus tarnish the reputation of the respective lab. To counter it, labs can consider providing permission-based access controls via a LIMS software solution. It will offer a secure password for each employee and ensure confidential data remains protected.
For a diagnostic lab to operate smoothly and effectively, it is vital to provide exceptional results without exceeding deadlines. So, there are some practical measures that lab managers must implement to carry out the operation in an effective way.
Remotely operating a lab is a tedious job. Every staff must get training to uphold best practices as per the industrial standards and conduct lab functioning efficiently. Besides, trusting them by giving autonomy will boost their morale and improve overall performance.
In a laboratory setting, quality is a must. Hiring a QA manager will ensure better quality assurance by continuously reviewing data and guiding the staff to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Thanks to LIMS, it is now possible to accurately show how a lab is performing concerning its stated goals. Furthermore, working remotely necessitates establishing priorities for finding KPIs such as:
Apart from it, they will help lab managers find answers to the following questions:
A cloud-based Diagnostics LIMS is valuable for clinical laboratories as it can help lab staff digitally record and track results and workflows precisely. In modern times, it has acted as a central hub by enabling staff to accomplish experiment write-ups, analyze lab data, see data patterns and offer information for regulatory dossiers with excellent efficacy.
The new reality of futuristic clinical laboratories is remote working as the younger generation yearns for more flexibility with a perfect work-life balance! So, the onus is on the clinical lab professionals to make remote working more efficient and safer. They must also incorporate cloud and networking-based digital solutions that will assist them in producing quicker, better, and higher-quality healthcare results with 100% efficiency.