How To Ensure Your Lab Is Running on Synchronized Time

Compliance issues, inaccurate testing environments, and decreased efficiency are a few potential consequences that could crop up in your lab if time synchronization and standardization are not in sync.

In the lab setting, with multiple functioning areas and rooms, time synchronization is paramount to organizational success and patient safety. It's important that your lab operates on standardized and synchronized time to ensure accuracy during critical situations. But achieving time synchronization across wall and deceive clocks within the lab — as well as synchronization across the healthcare facility as a whole can be extremely difficult. In fact, one study at the University of Pennsylvania discovered an average clock error of 24 minutes across 1,700 surveyed medical devices. In addition to causing personnel problems, this discrepancy can invalidate test results and place the compliance of the whole facility at risk.

So, what is the solution? This article will discuss how to identify whether your lab’s time is synchronized, overview the potential consequences of the lack of time synchronization, and provide methods you can use to ensure proper time synchronization.

Is Your Lab Running Smoothly?

Accurate time synchronization solutions are vital to ensure medical labs are running smoothly. It is important to guarantee accurate time to alleviate compliance issues, inaccurate testing environments, and to help increase efficiencies. The first step to ensure your lab is operating effectively and efficiently is to audit your current technology and clock systems to ensure they are up to date before performing routine maintenance. Then, consider digitized synchronized clock solutions for your lab so you can meet guidelines and reporting standards.

Consequences of Out-of-Sync Clock Systems

Issues with time synchronization in medical labs can pose numerous potential hazards. Aside from decreasing efficiency, lapses in time synchronization can be dangerous and can lead to compliance issues during reporting. Problems such as invalid lab samples can be impacted by clocks that are not in sync. If lab workers cannot confirm when or what time a specimen was tested due to out-of-sync clocks, the specimen may not be valid. For example, many specimens collected in the ICU or other parts of a healthcare facility have a very small testing window before results can become inaccurate or invalid. If the clocks in a lab are not synchronized both across the lab and with those in other parts of the facility, tests may not be performed in a timely manner. This could put patients in jeopardy by returning invalid results (potentially leading to misdiagnosis) or by slowing down the diagnosis/treatment process due to the need to conduct multiple versions of the same test.

Clock synchronization will ensure that labs meet all of the tight turnaround times generally related to testing and research. While clock synchronization strategies and technologies can help with these types of time discrepancies, what else could be affected?

Data Synchronization

Ensuring your lab is functioning with proper time synchronization is important for proper documentation and compliance. The Primex OneVue Sync solution can help labs keep accurate time documentation and record keeping to avoid compliance issues. The lab will need to communicate with other areas of medicine or research, so technologies must be in sync so that proper timekeeping and record keeping take place. Conflicts occur when synchronization is not reliable between different medical devices, lab clocks, or staff computers. Labs must be able to reliably send alerts from one system or another or note the proper time during procedures or medication distribution to ensure proper documentation.

Staff Schedules

Digital clock solutions can make staff changes seamless. The OneVue solution provides synchronized clocks and unified timekeeping solutions across lab facilities to ensure adequate staff and shift changes. Proper shift changes are very important to ensure that staff can pick up where the last shift left off, ensuring record keeping and documentation are in sync. In addition, it is important so that the lab can keep up with appointments and keep the medical lab running efficiently for both patients and staffing.

Alleviating Reporting Discrepancies

In addition, the importance of timekeeping and record keeping solutions are integral for a lab's reporting of medications and procedures to insurance companies. This is where the Primex suite of digital timekeeping and synchronization tools come in handy. Discrepancies between actual versus scheduled procedures or medication dispensing can play a negative role in reporting or reimbursement. It is imperative that time synchronization tools be up to date, monitored, and checked to ensure mishaps do not occur.

OneVue Monitor and Synchronized Timekeeping

Missteps in reporting, documentation, or efficiency can impact the compliance of your lab and the reliability of your work. Luckily, today, it is much easier to keep your head above water with the sophisticated time and clock synchronization solutions available. The Primex OneVue Sync can keep your lab running according to schedule. The OneVue Sync Transmitter is a smart solution for unified timekeeping, and Primex Digital Clocks and the OneVue Notify InfoBoard displays can further assist in strengthening the efficiency of your lab.


References:

http://patientsafety.pa.gov/ADVISORIES/documents/201212_143.pdf

http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/2009/12/consistent-time.html

http://www.mdpnp.org/devicesynchronization.html


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