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North Oaks Medical Center's Automated Laboratory Heightens Patient Safety and Quality

[HAMMOND, La.]--North Oaks Medical Center is the first hospital on the Northshore to implement a “lab train,” a fully computerized laboratory system that uses bar code technology to process specimens. The $1.1 million investment provides a higher level of patient safety and quality, and faster, safer testing of specimens collected in the hospital or in physician clinics.

“This state-of-the-art automation enhances patient safety and quality by eliminating many manual steps that previously were needed to be sure correct tests were run for the correct patient,” explains Jackie Williams, Director of the North Oaks Department of Laboratories. “Physicians receive test results more quickly, and in turn, patients are diagnosed and treated more quickly. Everybody benefits. ”

Laboratory personnel start the process by loading specimens into the system. The bar code on each test tube is scanned to confirm the patient and determine what test(s) have been ordered. The samples are then transported along the system’s track, and are dropped off at “stations” with the appropriate equipment for the specific tests that the physician ordered. If more tests are needed during a patient’s hospital stay, specimens are quickly retrieved from the system’s storage area, eliminating additional blood draw “sticks” and/or sample collection for the patient.

“North Oaks invests in new technology to provide the best, most efficient care possible. This is one of many ways we are working to ensure a positive experience for our patients, their families and our physicians,” says Michele Sutton, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer.