Team-Tested Practices

Women’s Clinic Reduces Lab Errors

Team members at the Santa Clara Women’s Clinic do not miss the days when they had no standard workflow on how to process lab orders. So it’s no surprise they made lots of errors—and would cover up their mistakes for fear of punishment. Employees, managers and physicians armed themselves with data, a method for change and a mission to significantly reduce the rate of lab specimen errors. Today, team members are experts in using performance improvement tools—which they used to meet and sustain their goal.

Here's What Worked

  • Standardizing the workflow for collecting specimens and ordering lab tests
  • Educating physicians about the medical assistants’ workflow and the couriers’ pick-up schedules
  • Treating errors as an opportunity for coaching rather than discipline

What can your team do to collect and analyze data to make workflow improvements? What else could your team do to encourage everyone to speak up and share concerns, ideas and suggestions?

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