Diagnostic and medical laboratories rely on processes and quality control to reduce errors and protect results.
Chain of Custody forms track and document every step in the drug-testing process. Lab samples are monitored and handled in a way that protects both the lab and the client. HIPPA sets out guidelines for protecting personal medical information, and any lab that doesn’t follow those guidelines is exposed to higher risk, fines, lawsuits and worse.
Many labs have complete control of quality processes in the four walls of the lab, but are leaving themselves exposed to risk in their supply chain. If your supply chain isn’t focused on quality assurance, then you risk bringing in problems and errors with every delivery.
We’ll take a look at how you can protect your lab and clients with your print supplier, and simple steps you can take to reduce potential problems.
The Importance of Quality in the Lab Supply Chain
Bringing an error on a document or label into the secure quality processes of the laboratory can lead to a cascade of problems for the lab.
Consider barcodes – it is the link between the patient information and the sample. If there is a problem with the printing, or the wrong label is used, then the link is potentially broken and the sample compromised.
If you receive a batch of labels or documents made of the wrong material, or if the batch wasn’t ordered correctly, then every process exposed to that batch is compromised.
Without quality control in your printing supply chain, you are exposing your lab to unacceptable risks.
Quality Protocols for Lab Labels and Documents
When evaluating print suppliers for your lab, there are a few questions you can ask that will ensure you are making the right decision for your business.
- Do you have experience with printing for diagnostic labs?
Not every print supplier is equal, and experience matters in lab operations. Finding a printer with current and applicable experience with printing for the lab will eliminate many supply chain problems before they happen. The qualified lab print provider should already have the processes and tools in place to immediately add value for you, and reduce your need for oversight – saving time and effort.
- What quality control and quality assurance processes do you have in place?
No process or operation is foolproof. Problems will occur, even in printing, so you need a print supplier with quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) processes in place – processes that at least match what you use in your lab. Without them, you have the potential of bringing in problems and headaches with every shipment. Look for ISO and Six Sigma certification, rather than taking the word of the printer at face value.
- Do you have any connections to the lab industry?
New regulations, new technology, changes to materials, process improvements, market fluctuation – the only constant in the lab industry is change. You need a print supplier that can manage these changes. Ask the supplier if they are members of organizations like the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA), Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) and College of American Pathologists (CAP). Membership matters when evaluating a potential partner you need to trust with your business and brand.
Reducing Risk with a Qualified Lab Print Partner
Your business is too important, and your brand too valuable, to put in the hands of the lowest-cost print provider.
Especially in a competitive market, it’s important to do your homework when selecting a print partner for your lab documents and labels. The right partner can elevate your business, saving you headaches and money across the supply chain. The wrong partner might save you a little money in the short term, but you end up paying in the long run with lost business and disrupted processes.
If you want to see the difference a print partner focused on serving labs can make for your business, then contact the qualified lab print partners at GO2 Lab Media to discuss your needs.
Take your lab to the next level with GO2 Lab Media.