Critical Lab Values - What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

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Critical Lab Values - What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

28-Feb-2018

Evaluations prompted as Lab experiences challenges contacting physicians in critical results situations, particularly after hours.

Following the latest series of challenges to contact physicians in critical results situations, particularly after hours, a small group gathered to discuss the matter.

The attendance included Taryn Lorencz, Director of Medical Inpatient Units; Dr. Lourens Blignaut, Interim Area Lead for Family Medicine; Dr. Rashaad Hansia, Urban Physician Dyad for Primary Health Care; Dr. David McCutcheon, Executive Transition Lead, Physician & Integrated Health Services, Dr. Nishen Bhagaloo, Medical Director of Gateway Alliance; and Virginia Marsh, Manager of Regulatory Affairs in Laboratory Services.

There was a rapid realization that we had a broken process. Physician contact numbers are entered separately into the Lab Information System, the Radiology Information System, and in Practitioner Staff Affairs. There is not an effective system of identification of who is covering for an absent physician on a call roster.

Physicians change clinics, phone numbers, etc., knowing that "every process is perfectly designed to get the results it gets", the group agreed that the best way forward was a process redesign using some Lean tools. The redesign of the call rota was given as evidence to support the suggestion. Many improvement suggestions were offered; however; given that we need to commence with good data, it was decided to solicit the support of the Quality & Strategy group to assist in the redesign process.

It is expected that the work will get underway later in the spring. Stay tuned.

Submitted by: Dr. David McCutcheon, Executive Transition Lead, Physician & Integrated Health Services