Performance Metrics to Optimize Laboratory Quality and Productivity

In addition to evaluating internal lab quality, performance metrics can help identify areas of weak performance and provide the necessary direction to improve these areas. The implementation of such measures requires management to prioritize competing objectives and devise workable solutions. Benchmark metrics help ensure that the quality of laboratory work and performance are constantly monitored, which ensures transparency and teamwork. The benefits of such metrics are numerous and include: (1) improvement in employee satisfaction and retention; (2) better lab productivity; and (3) increases in safety, efficiency, and quality.

Developing Performance Metrics For a Laboratory Organization:

Achieving performance goals can be an effective way to improve laboratory productivity and quality. By identifying the best practices and comparing them to the benchmark, laboratory managers can make informed decisions about how to best operate their business. Ultimately, this process can result in greater efficiency, reduced costs, and increased patient satisfaction. It is critical to understand the workload and how it is distributed among lab personnel. By visualizing key laboratory data through a portal such as VOLA, the team can better focus on improving quality and efficiency. Furthermore, an effective performance measurement program is essential to improving the quality and productivity of a laboratory. Using specific metrics for each lab will allow you to monitor and manage your operations more effectively. Finally, key performance indicators will enable you to measure the effectiveness of your organization by comparing goals to actual data and key performance indicators will also help you to improve the quality of your processes. This is vital for the success of your lab.

Using performance metrics to benchmark labs is a great way to understand your lab’s performance in comparison with the industry. In addition to identifying your top priorities, it will help you streamline your processes and reduce waste. With these metrics, you’ll be able to create a forecast and focus on solutions that will improve your bottom line.

So, what are three key performance KPIs for laboratories?

1. Understanding Nonconformities

The most useful metrics to optimize laboratory quality and productivity are nonconformities. Without the proper documentation, these issues will continue to negatively impact the quality of work and the reputation of the lab.

Nonconformities and complaints are an important metric for evaluating the quality of your laboratory processes.  Nonconformities can be a sign of poor process quality. Many laboratories fail to record these and other important metrics because of this result is most of these events go undocumented and unrecorded. The issue with this practice is you are only limiting the growth ability as well as hurting your current and potential customers. Not reporting and investigating nonconformities and complaints does not allow you to identify the root problems that caused the issues. Without identifying problems, you cannot formulate and implement solutions. Therefore, your processes continue to operate while continually repeating the same nonconformities. These practices diminish the quality of work and ultimately the reputation of the laboratory.

Laboratories should document their findings, statistically monitor for trends, and investigate to identify the root cause of their problems. Never be ashamed that these events have occurred; no laboratory is perfect. Instead, be proud to claim that your quality system works, and that you are able to identify problems and improve your processes. It is always better to identify problems in-house rather than allow a customer or an assessor to point them out for you. No one wants to be caught with their pants down. Do not allow it to happen to you. Take the initiative and fix your problems before they fix you.

2. Customer Retention

Measuring customer retention is an important aspect for maintaining business as well as growing the business. If you are repeatedly driving customers away, you will eventually go out of business. As a rule of thumb, 20% of your annual revenue must be generated from new business to maintain last fiscal year’s figures. This infers that most laboratories only retain 80% of their client base, on average, each year.

If your business is losing customers, you need to find out why. Beyond customer feedback surveys, you need to evaluate your client base annually to determine which customers you retained and lost. Make it a priority to reach out to your lost customers to determine why they have decided to take their business elsewhere. Use their feedback to improve your processes and increase customer retention.

3. Turnaround Time

Turnaround time is a critical factor that directly influences customer satisfaction. No better example of this has been the COVID-19 testing. Many laboratories had below average turnaround times which led to delayed test results. Customers may claim they are searching for the best price. However, every customer wants their equipment or test results returned to them as quickly as possible. By measuring this KPI, you can take the steps to eliminate bottlenecks, such as antiquated software solutions, to reduce your turnaround time. Doing this does two things; creates repeat customers and attracts new clients.

Understanding your turnaround time and the bottlenecks that affect it, allows you to gauge the overall performance of your laboratory throughput. If you know where you currently perform, you can identify ways to improve laboratory processes that reduce turnaround time. Calculating and tracking turnaround time will allow you to identify problems and indicators that decrease throughput, allocate resources to compensate workloads, increase revenues, and expand customer and patient satisfaction.

In Summary:

While annual metrics studies are useful for assessing lab performance, they often require the implementation of a performance management system such as VOLA to be effective.  If you don’t have a formalized process or the supporting software, reach out to us today!

VOLA’s Connected Health Ecosystem helps laboratories achieve the goal of a benchmarked metrics survey is to assess laboratory productivity and quality. Our system optimizes and streamlines your laboratory operations in one convenient and budget friendly portal. All of your data in one place. After analyzing the data, you can identify opportunities for process improvements, staffing, and quality improvement. The data-driven decision-making will improve operational efficiency and profitability.

A robust software solution is a valuable tool for both public health and private sector medical laboratories. Our solutions can streamline data collection across multiple locations and can even be customized for specific groups. With these digital solutions, it’s easy to streamline your laboratory operations.

Interested in a demo to see our platform can be optimized for your organization? Schedule a demo with the VOLA team today! Contact Us.


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.