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Reagent Utalization and Lean?

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  • This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years ago by sue.
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  • #39710

    sue
    Member

    I am working on a reagent utilization project for a clinical laboratory. Currently there is only a financial tracking of how many reagents we order per month. I am looking if anyone has some related project information to be shared. Also possibly trying to lean out the process by using Kanban-signaling to warehouse.
     The project timeline is 30 days.
     
     Any information would be greatly appreciated.
     
     
    Sue
     

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    #121383

    Dayton
    Member

    Sue,
     
    I worked on a similar project for a pathology lab using more hematology analyzers than clinical chemistry analyzers.  We wound up tracking calibrators, controls, lysing agents, diluents, and cleaners.   The products were purchased in cubitainers (which should give you an idea of primary manufacturer) with the exception of bottled calibrators and controls. 
     
    We tracked down to usage per sample run and compared to the analyzer manufacturer’s claim of reagent use per sample run.    It turned out that going to this granular level allowed the laboratory to demonstrate to the analyzer manufacturer that changes to their aspiration cycle had significant impact on reagent usage which further allowed the lab to get a price break on reagent costs.  
     
    But we used Value Stream Mapping to assure that we knew the lab flow and optimized the flow and then placed limited reagent stores at point of use continuing the tracking of reagents used to samples run.   This showed a few points of waste that were more procedural and personnel related and through more effective training and proceduralization we minimized them also. 
     
    I’d suggest that your first step in the path needs to be a VSM of your lab and optimize your flow paths, then go to a very granular level in tracking reagent use against samples run, what types of samples are run, and then by shifts and laboratory personnel.   You need data, but relevant data.    Right now with your financial data are doing 30,000 feet flyovers, which is good to start with but you need to also be doing carpet bombing and tarmac level strafing runs.   
     Vinny

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    #121466

    sue
    Member

    Thanks Vinny,
     
     I have not done the VSM but do have a process map. Starting form delivery point all through testing , QC, resulting… With the test in questions there are CLIA and CAP Regulations which limit us to certain extent.  I am trying to work around it.
     
    Did you use any type of visual clues/control for your process? If so, what kind?
     
    Thanks
    Sue

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    #121470

    Dayton
    Member

    Sue,
     
    We used clipboard-mounted matrices at each of the analyzers noting number of samples run, type of samples run, atypical reagent spills etc., as well as a log at the central stores of who got which reagent, when and was it a lab point of use back-up queue or they’d run out.  
     
    We also assured that each container was completely empty prior to using the next container because we determined that a few of med techs didn’t want to stop and re-setup during a series of runs and were changing out when they thought they were getting low.  So there was some inherent waste.  
     
    We tracked the results of our lab optimization efforts on a large board in the lab and equated reagent loss to dollars saved.  
     
    While you have CAP and CLIA requirements to hold to you still need to take your measures to a very granular level to see where you can make improvements.   The laboratory QC records in which you are running instruments using known samples in your calibrators and controls also can also show you areas for improved analyzer performance.    Plus as you are doing your runs establishing accuracy and precision understand the math and statistical dynamics of using Westgard’s rules, Levey-Jennings graphs, etc.   There are quite a few things that you do in set-up and run conditions and knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it at all levels in the lab will help minimize error, downtime, and waste.  
     
    The lab also held brief beginning of shift debriefings to discuss conditions and concerns and this also helped establish common understanding, baseline and early identification of problems and fix opportunities.
     
    The lab I helped with this also began to get biomedical engineering into it earlier and began showing them the calibration process and drift on the analyzers was caught earlier making corrections and upgrades less time consuming and reduced downtime.
     
    It was also an opportunity to bring OEE overall equipment effectiveness into play to improve general laboratory operational effectiveness. 
     
    But like most things, making it a big deal in the laboratory made it important in the eyes of the staff and the visuals in the measurement of process improvement helped keep it in front of people and something that they wanted to show improvement in.  
     Vinny

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    #121670

    sue
    Member

    Thanks Vinny. Indeed the opportunity is there.
    If you have a storyboard to share, you can e-mail me at [email protected].
    Sue

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