To Be Excellent, Be Consistent
My last blog related to the quality of a menu setting expectations for customers. This happens in your laboratory when you provide a test listing or requisition that describes testing performed in house. You may also have a STAT list or listing of tests with turnaround times or other specifics that are important to your clinicians. Whichever, you have to get it right when they order a test.
My recent trip to a restaurant in a nearby city illustrated this. The ambiance was fine, the place was clean, and the menu was trendily appealing, but the meal was awful. Our appetizers arrived on time, but they were wrong. And while our main course was delivered on time piping hot, it was tasteless. We left most of it on the table. My wife overheard employees complaining about the place, too.
This left me puzzled by the rave reviews. Every person I’d talked to said this was THE dining experience in town. If they were correct, then consistency was the problem and not ability. It isn’t enough to be good some of the time, I realized. To be excellent, one has to be consistent and be good every time.
In your laboratory, if the wrong test is done, done on time but inaccurate, or isn’t quite what the physician wanted, it doesn’t matter how many people rave about your service. That one customer may avoid your laboratory in the future. Overhearing lab workers complain about anything work related can seal the deal. In no time a sense of distrust builds, especially if your laboratory appears to be more than it delivers.
We won’t be back to that particular restaurant. There are too many others to choose from that cost less and serve better food. Why risk it? In those terms, I wonder why physicians trust inconsistent laboratories. Maybe they don’t.
No analogy is perfect, laboratories aren’t restaurants, and doctors aren’t diners. But building, meeting, and exceeding expectations always makes good business sense and better patient care. If your lab is excellent, are you also consistent?
NEXT: How Much QC is Enough?