Northwell Health goes ‘lean’ with core lab facilities

Lab work
Lean management can help hospitals design a central lab facility.

Hospitals looking to increase efficiency are applying lean principles to centralized labs, though a number of considerations are key when planning such a facility.

Northwell Health, for example, is expanding its core lab in Lake Success, New York, to two automated facilities: one located in Queens, New York, and one within its Center for Advanced Medicine.

To make the adjustments, leaders at the facility had to estimate staffing based on its testing flow and volume, ensuring that they chose locations with adequate space for the hospital’s needs, according to an article from Hospitals & Health Networks.

“Such projects are sure to provide immeasurable benefits to physicians, lower costs and speed lab results to anxious patients,” write architects Jim Gazvoda and Jeff Raasch, of Madison, Wisconsin-based Flad Architects.

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Executives should keep other elements in mind when planning a switch to a core lab, the pair writes, including:

  • Organization of workflows: Evaluate furniture and equipment arrangement and anticipate workflow throughout the process. 
  • Cross-contamination prevention: Develop a cleanliness strategy when planning physical design.
  • Flexibility: An open-lab design offers the most flexibility based on staff needs.

Hospitals that embrace lean management have successfully cut costs and reduced waste, as FierceHealthcare has reported. Nemours Children’s Health System, for example, found that lean principles work effectively in tandem with value-based care programs to spur care transformation.

And it’s not just hospitals that are thinking “lean.” Physician practices are doing it, too.

A study found that practices applying lean management were able to save time in the workday, reduce interruptions during patient visits and cut down wait times.