Just about every business can benefit from becoming more digital. This will look different for each individual business. Whether it is going paperless or using specialized software applications, there are some massive benefits to going digital. It is especially important for a medical laboratory to become more digital and use technology. Since there are changes coming constantly in the medical field, it would be difficult to keep up if it weren’t for the use of technology.
One of the biggest barriers to becoming more digital for many laboratories is the massive undertaking it seems to require. It is intimidating for them not because they aren’t used to technology, but because they have a huge amount of data that needs to be digitized. Since it is important to do so anyway, we will cover a few ways that you can do this for your lab.
Pick A Specialized Software Application
Every industry has a suite of software that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the company working in it. This means that there are a lot of applications that are going to prove to be extremely useful in a number of ways for your laboratory.
For instance, for GLP compliance, or Good Laboratory Practice, there needs to be a very complex set of data collection that shows to the governing bodies things like the establishment of quality assurance units and standard operating procedures. Without some software that does everything in one place, this would be a very time-consuming process and waste a lot of resources.
To solve this problem, many laboratories are using an Electronic Laboratory Notebook. It collates all of the relevant data and gives the compliance officer of the lab a neat way to present the information that is easy to understand.
Since much of this data is going to be examined in a repetitive way you are able to have it accessible. Reports are able to be generated automatically so this speeds up the process of gathering data. Searching through raw data would be a waste of everybody’s time so it is essential to use the right technology to streamline the standard operating procedure of your laboratory with the use of an application like this.
Create A Culture Of Technology
It is not an easy undertaking to go from an analog system to a digital one. It requires a change in mentality across the board among the staff and management at the laboratory. This means that there needs to be an effort to instill in everybody the need to do things digitally going forward.
The first step is to set up the infrastructure to be able to digitize everything that is currently still in analog form. Then, it has to be systemized to be able to train people on how to use the system going forward. It is a cultural shift that takes place so that everybody understands the reasons for doing so and what is expected of them.
It begins with training so that people know how to use the systems that have been created. In addition, it also requires very good communication. Make sure that the laboratory is also using applications for easy communication. It should be simple for two-way conversations and for easy access for all members.
Make It A Process
Since the conversion to digital can’t happen overnight, it is a good idea to start out small, master an area, and then expand the system. It’s very important to do this because mistakes happen and things don’t always go according to plan.
The best practice is to pick the first process that needs to be accomplished and then set it up perfectly. Keep testing and working out the bugs so that it doesn’t slow you down later by not working properly. Then move on to the next step.
Start with the easiest operations first to see how things go and then you can tackle the more complex ones later. Once the staff and management are working under the new digital culture they will be able to have better success with the complicated processes later on. If everything were to happen at once it would almost assuredly be a disaster.
There is always room for improvement in any laboratory. Even those that think they are already digitized and working with technology can improve their SOP by identifying areas that could use some updating. Talk to some other laboratories and ask them how they managed to go digital and learn from their experience.