November 23, 2017
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Making the Most of a Scarce Resource

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In 2013, the Penobscot Valley Hospital laboratory team completed 93,669 tests, up 11,000 from 2012. Lab staff are committed to quality service for their patients and offer early bird testing starting at 6am, inpatient rounding to streamline care, and the pink tag program to minimize wait times.

The Penobscot Valley Hospital Laboratory is celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 20-26, an annual recognition of the 300,000 laboratory professionals who perform over 10 billion lab tests each year. At PVH, much of the lab work is done in-house by our dedicated and experienced team of professionals; other work is sent to referral laboratories such as Quest Diagnostics.

“We are working on several initiatives this year,” says lab director Scott Warner. “We’ve started patient rounding in the morning to check in on patients who have had blood drawn. It doesn’t hurt to see an extra set of smiles when you’re in the hospital.” The lab also does a safety check while in the room, another set of eyes and ears to help the rest of the healthcare team at PVH.

Warner added, “We’re also working with area hospitals to conserve blood, something that is becoming a scarce resource.” Just a couple weeks ago, PVH developed a new web-based form for area laboratories to share their blood bank inventory levels with lab managers and blood bankers. There are currently about five facilities sharing this information with hopes to add more soon. This new process is designed to better inventory blood supplies and share resources, saving money and lives.

“Our lab wanted to create a method to enhance the communal use of blood supplies in our area. This new tracking form allows other facilities to view available blood units at surrounding organizations and decide the best use of those units while matching a patient’s blood type,” states PVH chief operations officer Joe Grant. “Couriers have been assisting us in transporting the requested blood units. This process will reduce the chances of expiring, unused units of our fundamental commodity, blood.”

In 2013, the laboratory received national recognition for its quality initiatives, and the enthusiasm and initiative that earned this recognition continues in the work done by staff. In addition, the lab works with area nursing homes and other care agencies to provide timely, quality lab testing. While this work is all done “behind the scenes” and out of view of the general public, it is a vital element in patient care.

PVH Laboratory hours are 6am to 8pm Monday through Friday and 8am to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Patients are encouraged to bring copies of requisitions from their providers to avoid any delays. The staff is happy to answer any questions about preparation for tests, so call them at 794-7244 if you have questions.