Traditional quality management within the clinical laboratory field has been tethered to the confines of calibrators, quality control materials, statistical analysis and a focus on process improvement tactics.
These approaches, while very successful at attaining "low lying fruit," can be ineffective when attempting to bridge the chasm between good quality and exceptional quality.
With the constant push towards patient centered care both in the U.S. and globally, clinical laboratory professionals must understand the role they have to play as all indicators of quality lead back to the patient's satisfaction.
Moreover, laboratory administrators must fully understand the dynamics of the customers they serve, both internal and external, as each of these customers have perceptions relating to quality indicators or necessities, requirements and desires regarding the services they receive.
This is a concept that not only applies to the laboratory but the entire gammut of healthcare.
Value Stream or Creation?
When analyzing the customer value creation, I use this term because the term value stream is a potential harmful metaphor that portrays to individuals that value is linear from point A to B and so on.
This assumption of value is incorrect. While there are potential process pathways where value is transferred in this manner, most healthcare organizations create value in cycles, transfers and even in parallel with other departments.
Learn how customer perception impacts quality improvement and who the end customers of laboratory work really are by clicking on the link below to read more.
Much of this value creation focus in healthcare is centered on patient outcome and the overall efficiency in which the desired outcome can be attained, and is a highly justifiable focus for any organization.