“Web 2.0” is one of the new buzzphrases out there. Wikipedia describes it as “ web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration.” Instead of a static information repository, the internet has become an interactive, dynamic platform that molds itself to the user. It changes as we change.
It’s an attractive concept that could apply to your laboratory. Let’s call it “Lab 2.0,” an interactive, dynamic environment that changes with the times, updates constantly, and molds itself to the needs of patients and healthcare professionals. How would this work?
How we handle information has to change. Instead of policies and procedures in sheet protectors in binders on shelves or in static PDFs on a file server, imagine interactive web sites that allow you to solve calculations, do intelligent searches, and actively update information as a procedure changes. I’ll admit, this seems like an outrageous suggestion to me, but the alternative of a stodgy, annual review that very likely changes nothing substantive about a process seems inherently non-productive by comparison. Lab 2.0 policies and procedures could redefine our resources into accurate process descriptions.
Some paradigms have to disappear. The “we’ve always done it that way” and “that is non-negotiable,” for two. If laboratories are to not just survive but thrive in this sagging economy and era of increasing legislative control, they need to be able to respond rapidly with all available resources. Brainstorming and group participation needs to be the norm, not a team building exercise to demonstrate management leadership. Good -- even great -- ideas often come from anywhere.
Your laboratory may be working on some of these ideas already. It’s possible to create blogs, discussion threads, or wikis (Wikipedia is the best example) about instrument troubleshooting, for example. Lab 2.0 technology presents exciting new opportunities to bring back the spark in your laboratory.