Case closed: discrepant results at multiple sites

As hospitals are brought under single health systems, laboratory leaders are faced with the task of ensuring that their clinical lab results are comparable among various sites and instruments. But some have had more opportunity than most to investigate the mischief afforded by variations in instruments, reagents, and more.

Dina N. Greene, PhD, found herself in that position. She worked for four years at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, where she served as a clinical chemistry consultant for its 21 hospital laboratories in the area and directed hemoglobinopathy and myeloma testing for the system’s regional laboratory.

“This is an increasing kind of problem with consolidation. As different universities acquire more hospitals and as hospital systems acquire other hospitals, it’s going to be an increasing challenge,” says Dr. Greene, now associate director of chemistry at the University of Washington Medical Center. She also is assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at UW, which she joined in December 2014.

“You have to standardize your equipment—that’s a fundamental part of this. Without standardizing the equipment, you just have so much more opportunity for wildly different results, especially if everything is going into the same electronic medical record,” Dr. Greene says.

Another feature from the October CAP TODAY. Read the whole shebang.