The first step in a systematic approach to the management and organization of a health laboratory begins with the establishment of general goals and specific objectives by the laboratory staff. The use of such objectives for purposes of management is known as management by objectives (MBO).
In order to achieve these objectives, the laboratory must have adequate facilities, equipment and supplies, and an adequate number of qualified personnel. As used here, goals are those general and qualitative statements of overall philosophy of the organization. An example of a goal is “a commitment by the hospital laboratories to be a vital component of a hospital whose goal is to provide a patient care environment of excellence, to serve the community, and to serve as a setting for clinical teaching.
The goal should be consistent with the organizational structure, the management style of the laboratory director, and the available resources. In turn, such goals should influence the future programs of the laboratory and the activities of the director and lab staff.
The types of goals set for a laboratory will vary greatly. For instance, the goals for operation of an office laboratory with two physicians are different from those of a reference laboratory serving thousands of patients over a large geographic area. A useful exercise for a new laboratory is to write the overall goals of the lab after discussions with appropriate persons in the organization. As part of this process, laboratory directors should encourage written input from each organization level toward the development of the goals and objectives.
Such written goals may be organized as follows:
1. A statement of the primary external goals of the laboratory
2. A statement of the secondary and tertiary goals of the lab in reference to service, research, or education.
3. A statement in reference to the management philosophy of and need for cost effectiveness.
4. A statement as to what kind of environment is desired in the laboratory with respect to interpersonal relationships, working conditions, and attitudes toward teaching and scholarly activities.
Management by objectives is a process of formulation, performance and assessment, and as such it provides means of focus on pertinent factors and issues that affect the practice of lab medicine. As a tool of management, MBO encourages discussion, interaction, and consensus decision making among all organizational levels of the laboratory. Good management means getting work done. A well-organized laboratory service is efficient, and produces work of high standard in a safe and pleasant working environment.
• Setting up the main working room
• Arranging stocks of laboratory items
• Establishing routine procedures for disinfection and disposal.
• Establishing good communication with clinicians
• Organizing patient flow
• Keeping laboratory records
• Ordering laboratory supplies
• Organizing staff activities
• Establishing a reliable quality control system
• Setting planned programme for lab personnel trainings to the highest possible qualification
• Setting plans for enhancing the lab activities to the highest possible technical level
Role of Laboratory in Health Care Personnel
The laboratory is an integral part of a nation’s health service. It gives the service a scientific foundation by providing accurate information to clinicians and to other responsible bodies for:
• Treating patients
• Deciding health priorities and allocating resources.
• Monitoring the development and spread of infections pathogens as well as status of non-infectious acute or chronic diseases or their markers; tumor markers, hormones, cancer cells, etc.
• Investigating preventable premature loss of life.
• Deciding effective control measures against major prevalent diseases.
Without reliable laboratory support:
• Patients are less likely to receive the best possible care.
• Resistance to essential drugs will continue to spread.
• The sources of disease may not be identified correctly.
• Epidemics and the spread of major communicable diseases will not be checked reliably.
• Valuable financial and human resources may be diverted to ineffective `control measures.