IBMS Gazette features the Eight Principles of Lab Performance

The Eight Principles of Certainty is featured in the August 2016 IBMS Gazette, The Biomedical Scientist. The feature comes off the back of a PinpointBPS presentation at the Clinisys UGM by LTS Director Chris Fourie.

 Chris Fourie, Director at LTS, provided a thought provoking keynote on the need for laboratory innovation and how the Eight Principles provide the necessary structure and approach.

Chris Fourie, Director at LTS, provided a thought provoking keynote on the need for laboratory innovation and how the Eight Principles provide the necessary structure and approach.

Improving performance in your laboratory, powerfully and successfully

We're witnessing an increased adoption of the Eight Principles in laboratories and thought leaders in the industry are also using the principles as a performance management philosophy. Most recently, a laboratory in Canada noted that "the PinpointBPS approach to lab innovation uses straightforward principles that just make sense".

The PinpointBPS approach to lab innovation uses straightforward principles that just make sense

Today, the reality for laboratories in nearly all markets is that an ageing population, constrained economy and accelerated innovation cycle demands that more is done with less. Staying ahead of these trends and being able to provide enhanced quality at improved costs and reduced turnaround time is not just necessary for success - it is necessary for survival.

Laboratory scientists and professionals know that change and innovation in performance improvement needs to happen, but the risk of getting it wrong often holds back those initiatives that will truly have the desired, big impact. In addition, understanding where to start, who to involve and how to see it through to success are some of the obstacles faced when attempting to innovate.

Eight principles to drive performance improvement innovation in any laboratory

The Eight Principles of Certainty were developed and refined based on nearly two decades of experience in laboratories. It is based on key factors identified in laboratories that achieved success in its performance improvement initiatives and focuses on the concept of certainty: reducing risk by firstly reducing those factors that are unknown in the laboratory, and secondly focusing intently on those factors that are known. The real advantage of these principles within any laboratory is in its practical nature.

The Eight Principles are structured into three steps toward laboratory performance improvement:

  1. Structuring your laboratory for certainty
  2. Certainty in practice within your laboratory
  3. Sustaining innovation and performance improvement

PinpointBPS thought leaders have also written extensively about how The Eight Principles benefit laboratories and provide a platform for innovation and ensure sustainability through ongoing practice. The benefits of following

Innovation in laboratory performance improvement hinges on the concept of certainty: reducing risk by firstly eliminating those factors that are unknown in the laboratory, and secondly focusing intently on those factors that are known

Step 1: Structuring your laboratory for certainty

Innovation in laboratory performance improvement is not possible without the relevant foundation. The first three principles provide the necessary framework for this structure to be put in place.

1. Boost the Bottom Line, or Bust

For innovation to take place, every effort needs to be sustainable in the long term. This first principle is about defining that vision. While enhance quality is the ultimate goal for any laboratory, it cannot be maintained if the bottom line and reduced cost isn't factored in.

2. Lead with a Common Language

A common language is all about understanding. Does everybody in the laboratory understand what is required and needs to be done? And more importantly, does everybody understand the vision for innovation within the laboratory? It is up to everyone in the laboratory to ensure this understanding permeates the laboratory through communication.

3. Trust the Transparency

Transparency is required to have a holistic view of all the available resources to ensure innovation in performance improvement can happen. Not only does everybody in the laboratory have a responsibility in achieving innovation, but everybody also needs to understand how their efforts and activities impact others within the laboratory. 

Step 2: Put certainty into practice

The second step in achieving certainty in the laboratory is about empowering the people that will make the change happen. Ongoing change underpins the process of innovation and happens when everybody is empowered to motivate change and make decisions.

4. Facts and Figures, No Fluff

Laboratories already exist to make judgement and decisions based on evidence... yet when it comes to performance improvement, this is not always the case. Every person in the laboratory, from operations through to management, need to be empowered to make decisions. Emotional decision making is the adversary of a structure of certainty and it is pivotal that all decisions that drive performance improvement in a laboratory is made by using facts and figures in combination with a structure for certainty. 

5. Driven by Decisiveness

A dragged out improvement process could mean that innovation is outdated even before it is achieved! Everybody in the laboratory needs to be able to act fast and get things done. While decisiveness is required, being driven by it is key.

6. Inaccuracy is Inexcusable

We work in an industry where the wrong decision could be the difference between life and death. In the same way we approach diagnostics with precision and certainty, we should ensure that any action relating to performance improvement in the laboratory is as accurate as it possibly can be. This demands meticulous planning and ensuring the structure for certainty is in place and maintained.

Step 3: Sustain innovation

Once everyone in the lab has been empowered to make these decisions and create the change required for innovation in laboratory performance improvement, it is up to the whole laboratory - and even the industry - to encourage and foster this ongoing process towards innovation.

7. Big Impact Beats Small

If the empowerment of people in the laboratory isn't carefully manged, it could lead to a plethora of isolated performance improvement initiatives. This means that initiatives and changes motivated by laboratory staff should be prioritized on an ongoing, holistic basis. What is the expected impact of an initiative and how does it fit in with our structure for certainty? Can we see the greater effect on our efforts towards innovation?

8. Knowledge Knows No Bounds

What good is any innovation if it's kept secret. It is up to every one of us to champion a culture that shares insights and successes. Learning from each other is as easy as setting up a frequent laboratory-wide meeting to discuss progress towards innovation. Better yet... we could learn so much by visiting each other's laboratories and discussing the initiatives and their impact with each other. Together, we take the industry forward.

In short: When it comes to making a decision, opt for certainty.

These eight principles have been incorporated in all accredited PinpointBPS training and performance improvement solutions. It underpins our quest to ensure that laboratories navigate the challenges and opportunities of the market and get back to its roots of pioneering innovation in healthcare.