Linda Kaufman - Laboratory Manager
We chose to participate in the Lab Advantage program because of the cost efficiencies it offered our enterprise. Because we have school-based labs, community health center labs, public health labs and a hospital laboratory, we were able to decrease our costs for regulatory inspections by nearly $4000 annually. By combining our CLIA certificates for oversight under The Joint Commission we also decreased costs by another $1500 per year. As the Laboratory faced budget cuts, the fact that the team did not need to be out of the facility for a peer review during the accreditation survey became another consideration. Time away for the team was expensive, and prep time for the peer CAP review was time consuming in a time of fewer resources. The teams now focus that time working internally with tracer methods to support our surveys. The facility also felt that the surveyor teams from The Joint Commission are on a much more even depth of review providing, as they guide us through the survey, great lessons for learning.
The Denver Health enterprise-wide efforts in combining the certificates has put all of the laboratories under the same set of standards for review and survey and has leveled the playing field through the Priority Focuses published by The Joint Commission. It has also aligned the hospital laboratory with the survey that occurs every third year. This alignment has allowed our nursing and laboratory staffs to better communicate and focus on strategies to "get it right" for patient care and safety. Previously the CAP inspection was looked at by our nursing staff as regulations that were not a part of their department.
The other benefits to our laboratorians are the ability to look at more cost efficient proficiency testing packages through API, and ASCP teleconferences are a primary source of education for our institution.