Spectra Laboratories Improves Efficiency

Feb. 17, 2010

ATLANTA, Feb. 15, 2010 – Spectra Laboratories East (Rockleigh, N.J.), a lab division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, recently replaced its legacy system with McKesson’s Horizon Lab laboratory information system (LIS) to improve workflow associated with more than 30 million tests it performs annually.

Nearly half of the laboratories in the U.S. reported difficulty in hiring laboratory technologists in 2008 and the outlook has not improved. For every seven lab techs that retire this year, only two are entering the field. These challenges are causing healthcare organizations such as Spectra Laboratories to take a serious look at their efficiency.

 “In light of the increasing labor cost coupled with a shortage of new hires, we needed to automate processes with a laboratory information system that is fast and efficient,” reports Chinu Jani, vice president of operations and general manager at Spectra Laboratories East. “With Horizon Lab, we can receive laboratory orders electronically and report real-time results, which has significantly improved our turnaround time to clinicians.”

Spectra Laboratories, the leading provider of renal-specific testing services for more than 2,100 dialysis centers, considered other laboratory systems for the replacement but quickly discovered that McKesson offered the best solution for the large, complex reference lab. “We have enjoyed a long partnership with McKesson for our legacy system, and felt that McKesson offered a product, and not just a promise,” adds Jani.

“The LIS is a critical piece of the IT spectrum of systems,” says Lori Guggino, vice president of Spectra’s Information Systems. “In order to position our lab for what lies ahead, the systems and infrastructure in place must be able to sustain growth and key challenges which the health industries will face in 2010 and beyond.”

Since going live on Horizon Lab in August 2009 to optimize current automation, Spectra has realized increased productivity across the path of workflow, from pre-analytical to post-analytical phases. In essence, Horizon Lab software streamlines workflow, maximizes productivity and makes quality control monitoring easier.

“It was important for Spectra to align our processes and meet the specific needs of both our East and West Coast labs in terms of functionality,” reports Sharon Losch, Horizon Lab project manager. “The new technology has streamlined our processes, while giving us the ability to implement standardization across laboratories.”

Information on the location of archived specimens is also available within Horizon Lab, and expert rules were developed to automate complex calculations. The increased processing speed enables Spectra to quickly provide clinicians the information they need, so that they can in turn deliver the highest-quality care to their dialysis patients.