Making the Case for a New Laboratory Technician

by on October 9, 2015 in Uncategorised
Lab Technician | Clarity LIMS Reporting

“We’re overworked!”

“We need a new lab technician!”

“I think we are using too many reagents!”

“I feel like we need another instrument. Do we need another instrument?”

If you hear these statements in your lab, at what point do you take action?  Even scientists, known for being exceptionally logical, can make emotionally charged statements that are based on hunches alone. Of course, hunches are good, and often they are right on the money, but cold hard data are better.

It’s not uncommon for labs and the people in them to have these gut instincts. We recently came across an interesting case study available from Harvard Business Review. The case study described the budgetary process for a bustling 325-bed hospital and the plight of a pathology lab to get one additional laboratory technician. If you were to read the case study, you would sense the frustration on the part of the Chief of Pathology. He knew the staff were overworked because he was paying them overtime, and it was coming directly out of his Pathologist in Chief funds! Yet even with a passionate argument and what he thought were justifiable figures, he was still denied the additional headcount.

Like the pathology lab at Lomita, we hear similar frustrations from labs we work with. Getting extra headcount for the important work done in a lab shouldn’t be difficult, but it often is.  As some organizations tell us, “there’s a desire to cut at every level” when it comes to getting budgets approved. Additionally, the frustrations often extend well beyond the request for a new lab technician.

For some labs, it’s the request for an additional sequencer or instrument. Before any new instruments can be purchased, labs need to understand that their existing instruments are working at full capacity.

Often it’s an issue of efficiency.  Is sample turnaround taking too long? Is it because of the quality of samples that come to the lab?  Do labs need to charge more?  Or do they simply need to request a higher quality of samples from customers? Often it’s simply about planning for the future. Labs want to know how much they are consuming and how much to budget for next year.

There’s no question that good reporting and analytic tools can help you understand what’s really happening in the lab.  Being able to interrogate and visualize data across multiple variables can help you validate your hunches or even uncover previously unknown issues. In turn, your lab can optimize your processes, correct problems, and even get that new laboratory technician! Indeed, in the case of Lomita hospital, there were multiple variables in play. Specifically, some of the new tests being administered, while easier to conduct, actually took more time. Increasingly, the environment is complex, and any laboratory procedure that can positively impact those important variables of cost reduction and improved care are important to understand.

We want to help you understand your lab and all of the variables within it. BaseSpace Clarity LIMS has always included dashboards so that you can see–at a glance–how things are progressing in the lab. Now, we are making the reporting process even easier and more in-depth by developing a number of preconfigured reports. Like our preconfigured workflows, these reports will help your lab get up to speed with reporting immediately.  Some of these reports include sample turnaround time, lab efficiency, and various reports that summarize library prep, reagents, or controls, among others. These reports will help you get to know what’s really happening in your lab, so that you can get the resources you need. Just think–that productive, energetic new laboratory technician could soon be starting in your lab!

These reports will be available soon. For now, if you would like more information, contact us
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