The demand for medical lab tests is growing as more physicians recognize the importance of lab trials in confirming the diagnosis and monitoring their patients’ responses for treatment. Clinical lab trials are also used to screen and surveillance diseases significant to public health. COVID-19 rising local prevalence had a significant impact on laboratory tests operations. Laboratory tests relevant to COVID-19 diagnoses and management saw increased volume during the pandemic. To identify positive COVID-19 cases, initiation of treatment and management strategies contributed to the demand for medical lab testing. Polaris Market Research, Jan 2022.

As a lab manager, you are already aware of the importance of proper sample management. Inadequate sample management can result in compromised samples, inappropriate labeling, and sample loss or misidentification. Improper sample management can also delay patient requests/results and harm your laboratory’s reputation. It is crucial for a laboratory to follow proper Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) to avoid these issues, however SOPs can be hard to execute with legacy software and tracking systems. This article will outline how VOLA strives to optimize your sample management processes as well as some tips to ensure proper sample operations.

VOLA & LIMS Integrations

An ideal LIMS (laboratory information management system) can track the processing of samples as well as their interactions with other systems. However, in many cases your LIMS alone will fall short in some important sample concurrencies and reconciliations causing operational gaps and lags, VOLA bridges these gaps. Our system will record any changes or interactions with the sample throughout its lifecycle, while seamlessly integrating with your LIMS. The samples are often separated into multiple aliquots, so utilizing a LIMS and VOLA’s software allows you to maintain a consolidated and transparent view of each sample aliquot. Our software also allows you to track changes to samples and generate a full audit trail of all the actions performed on a sample.

Furthermore, VOLA works hand-in-hand with your LIMS software, which enables you to better manage not just your sample processes but all aspects of your lab’s operations. By facilitating sample traceability from patient intake to results, our software will also reduce time-to-patient or doctor as well as prevent possible issues due to poor tracking and oversight lapses. Digital sample tracking is essential for any lab to improve sample management, and it can increase your productivity by a great deal.

Staff efficiencies and Sample QC

Improper sample processes and tracking systems can make it impossible to run a successful and profitable laboratory, but more importantly is can lead to staff frustrations and burnout. To identify inefficient practices and systems, you can discuss your current processes and procedures with lab staff. They can offer insight on how you can improve your procedures, sample management, and equipment. Document these suggestions and use them to streamline your lab. A good sample management system will alleviate these inefficiencies with customizable suite of tools, which in-turn helps your staff do their jobs better as well as helps the lab turnaround time and saves you time and money. It will also make it easier for you to improve your business by providing your lab team with more information about overall lab performance, which can be allotted to important non-core competency aspects such as marketing, sales, and reputation management.

Another important feature of VOLA is that it integrates and facilitates various assessments for Quality Control (QC) metrics. This is extremely important because you must also be able to tie QC results to individual sample records. The system should route samples that pass the QC test to the next step in the workflow while rejects samples back to the previous step. Lastly, our software solutions can automate certain tasks, we accomplish this in part by providing easy to understand metric dashboards for QC and other KPIs, simplifying communications by built in scheduling tools for follow-ups with patients and/or doctors for results, results sharing, and allowing you to easily manage sample records when cross referenced with other lab information.

Specimen lifecycle

Proper physical specimen management ensures accurate lab results. To accomplish this you must ensure the specimen is properly labeled and stored, and most importantly, trackable. This is why VOLA implemented a bar-code scanning system. Correctly labeled specimens are crucial to overall healthcare. Results tracking and sharing in a timely manner help physicians diagnose the condition and make appropriate therapeutic decisions.  VOLA’s suite of tools keep track of samples from their receipt in the laboratory to their final storage and testing, and results distribution. Our system records detailed data about each sample during its lifecycle, including the source of the sample and the date of collection.

In addition to sample collection and transportation, the lab must ensure proper specimen handling from intake on. Proper care of the specimen can help prevent contamination. If samples are not managed correctly, they could negatively impact the quality of laboratory tests. Moreover, poor sample management can affect the quality of patient care, the cost of hospital treatment, and laboratory efficiency. For these reasons, proper specimen management is essential to ensure accuracy in laboratory results.

To sum it up

Our software solutions are developed in-house by our team after a full deep dive into your business and operational needs. By using a VOLA, a lab can focus on the science of testing and analysis rather than spending precious resources on developing bespoke software. Additionally, our  solutions allow laboratories to collaborate across different locations and disciplines by automating tasks and reducing the risk of human error. Our solutions can be tailored to the lab’s workflow and help customers achieve high-quality results without the hassle of managing samples.

Interested in a demo to see our platform can be optimized for your laboratory needs? Contact us to schedule a demo with the VOLA team today!

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About VOLA
Our mission is to support the rapidly growing digital transformation of the healthcare industry. We do this by equipping medical offices and telehealth providers with customizable and affordable technology. One of our key differentiators is our ability to connect laboratory tests into the workflow of telehealth services. Additionally, we have a dedicated SaaS product line to support laboratories and laboratory marketing organizations.