Lab Standardization: What Is It and What Are Its Benefits?

Lab Standardization:

What Is It and What Are Its Benefits?

Laboratory standardization can mean different things to different people, but almost everyone in healthcare can attest to its advantages. When a laboratory's processes are standardized, most organizations see measurable improvements in testing quality and efficiency, and those gains then carry over to patient care in the form of lower costs and better outcomes. Here's a look at what standardization entails—and a few of the many key benefits it creates.

standardize [stan-der-dahyz] Verb

1. to bring to or make of an established standard size, weight, quality, strength, or the like
2. to compare with or test by a standard
3. to choose or establish a standard for

source: Dictionary.com

“We can't have variation across locations. Our equipment needs to be standardized.”

-Eyas Hattab, MD, MBA, Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine,
A.J. Miller Endowed Chair in Pathology, University of Louisville

THE BENEFITS

Better Quality

Measurements are reliable, reproducible, and comparable in laboratories across the healthcare system.

Better Efficiency

Fewer errors, duplications, and delays can help drive substantial cost savings.

“We went from eight EMRs to one, and we went from two laboratory information systems to one. In that process of designing the EMR, there was a lot of provider input, and that's where we did a lot of the standardization in our organization."

-Michelle Barthel, MT(ASCP), MHA, System Director of Laboratory Services, Regional Healtha

Optimize Workflow

Improved efficiency reduces the time it takes to produce results. Automation of routine processes minimizes the need for manual labor so laboratorians can focus on high-value tasks.

"Effective patient care, clinical research, and public health efforts require compatibility of laboratory results independent of time, place, and measurement procedure."1

"As health systems grow, standardizing laboratory practice across all sites is not merely a matter of efficiency, but also holds significance for patient satisfaction, quality of care, and overall clinical operations."2

Improve Outcomes

Better and faster lab results lead to improved diagnoses and patient care.

“We went from eight EMRs to one, and we went from two laboratory information systems to one. In that process of designing the EMR, there was a lot of provider input, and that's where we did a lot of the standardization in our organization."

  • Reduced readmissions
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Increased patient satisfaction

Increase Revenue

Better patient outcomes can drive better reimbursement through alternative payment models (APMs) and value-based care initiatives.

Better Customer Satisfaction

Ordering physicians value fast and accurate results. C-suite executives value initiatives that reduce costs and improve revenue.

1. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "Current practices and challenges in the standardization and harmonization of clinical laboratory tests." Hubert W. Vesper, Gary L. Myers, W. Greg Miller. September 2016. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004491/.
2. Clinical Laboratory News. "Lab Standardization in the Era of Big Healthcare Networks." Elsie Yu, PhD, DABCC, FACB. September 2017. Available at: https://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/articles/2017/september/lab-standardization-in-the-era-of-big-healthcare-networks .


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