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Stepwise Success

Ebola is a Wake Up Call
October 29, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
The latest personal protective equipment guidelines from the CDC for Ebola emphasize training in donning and doffing PPE, no skin exposure, and a buddy system to make sure the process is followed. As their site states, “Focusing only on PPE gives a false Read More...
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Vanity Metrics
October 24, 2014 4:18 PM by Scott Warner
Data is what we do. From collection times to bread and butter lab test results to quality control to maintenance to report distribution and all that’s in between, laboratories collect and document more data than more departments. One of the challenges Read More...
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For the Best Results, Hire Professionals
October 15, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
The late oil well firefighter Red Adair said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” During staffing shortages or budget crunches it can be expedient to hire a warm body but disastrous in the Read More...
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The Cult of Busy
October 6, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
A hospital’s culture defines how it responds to customers and crises, whereas a cult is defined by the dictionary as “a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.” Cults have ideology, rituals, and symbols. Most Read More...
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Why We Work
September 12, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
Middle managers are often told to “engage” employees with buzzwords and gimmicks: empowerment, inclusion, work teams with stupid names made of acronyms, action plans, team huddles, and good old-fashioned delegation. We need to train our replacements, Read More...
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We Never Got The Result
August 20, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
“We never got the result!” is our most common complaint, followed closely by “My doctor never got the result!” It is frequently delivered in an accusatory tone instead of the more accurate “We can’t find it. Did you send it?” Or even, “Did you perform Read More...
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Explaining Ourselves
August 11, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
According to US News and World Report , the top five “best jobs” in 2014 are: software developer, computer systems analyst, dentist, nurse practitioner, and pharmacist. We make the list, too: phlebotomist is #16 and clinical laboratory technician #22. Read More...
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Do Older Techs Hate Change?
August 6, 2014 6:05 AM by Scott Warner
If there’s anything a lifetime of change teaches us, it’s that change never matches the hype. At some point in your career you’ve heard and seen it all: staffing ideas, alphabet soup, meeting gimmicks, efficiency notions. Like hornets, buzzwords are best Read More...
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Is Your Lab Open or Closed?
June 6, 2014 6:06 AM by Scott Warner
Business models tend to influence paradigms. Open office plans have been around since the 1950s and are in seventy percent of all businesses. The idea is simple: if workers can see each other and don’t have walls between them, creativity and productivity Read More...
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A Better Blood Bank History
June 2, 2014 6:09 AM by Scott Warner
Blood bank is a dangerous department. Giving a patient the wrong unit of red cells can be fatal, something all techs who work in blood bank worry about. I’ve seen this happen once in my career. Truth is we don’t know how often this really happens, since Read More...
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Workplace Statistics
May 14, 2014 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
The Internet is an amazing place. The other day I found a page compiling “Time Management Statistics” maintained by a workforce productivity site called Key Organization Systems. Assuming they are accurate, I’ve rearranged a few for context: In one survey Read More...
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To Do or To Don’t
May 5, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
Some people are list makers. It’s a good feeling to make a list and cross off things as they’re done. Research shows that writing down a task gives you a better chance of getting it done. It helps organize your mind at the start of the day for today, Read More...
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Are Mistakes Systemic?
April 25, 2014 6:14 AM by Scott Warner
The more I deal with process design, the more I suspect human error is systemic. Not that we are flawless workers -- one author parses mistakes and slips by intention or outcome -- but we give the system a pass too often and blame human error. We work Read More...
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Patient Rounding
April 16, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
Each morning in our laboratory, we round the wards to review charts and talk to nurses and doctors about care related to lab issues. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years. This year we added patient rounding. The idea is simple: each morning we Read More...
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Introduce Yourself
April 11, 2014 6:08 AM by Scott Warner
It’s inevitable. Sooner or later as healthcare professionals we become patients ourselves or our family members are patients. As insiders we are invaluable observers. We know how things should work. We know what to look for. Yet our input or feedback Read More...
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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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