Touchstone Gold: NHRMC Aligns Labs for Standardization, Efficiency

July 25, 2018
Gold Lab standards graphic

NHRMC provides onsite laboratory support at three hospital locations, one stand-alone emergency department (ED), an ambulatory surgi-center, and various physician group partners. Each location historically had different laboratory analyzers, different ranges for normal and critical laboratory results, and therefore different policies and procedures.

NHRMC was experiencing inventory challenges such as storage capacity, lot controls, and expanded item maintenance. As ED physicians began rotating between facilities, NHRMC needed to standardize laboratory processes.

Through simplified, standard processes consistent across all laboratory locations, NHRMC elevated the standard of care provided to our patients while supporting best practices.

The Project:

The first trial on the journey to systemizing our laboratory processes involved standardizing pathology services across all sites. Once information systems were in place, the laboratory team began standardizing equipment across locations to support ED services.

In May of 2015, ED North opened, housing a stat lab that supports emergency, radiology, and outpatient services offered at that location. An additional laboratory location further enforced the importance of integrated services.

In November of 2017, NHRMC Pathology and Laboratory Services became the second laboratory in the United States to go live with a fully automated microbiology system. This automation line and the addition of a mass spectrometer positioned the lab to reduce the amount of time from sample collection and applying the appropriate therapy to patients.

Through the operation of more powerful data analytics tools, laboratory services were monitored and analyzed to track productivity and opportunities for development. All laboratories ultimately aligned and synchronized their accreditation with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in 2017, further uniting us as one system.

The Impact:

NHRMC was greatly impacted by the efforts of this project. The laboratory expanded Microbiology services to support 24/7 operations. Two full-time employees were reassigned to provide extended coverage and enhance patient care.

Consolidation of pathology services and development of a cytopathology program proved successful in terms of quality and financial metrics.

As NHRMC grows and becomes more of a health system than a hospital, a systems-minded approach is crucial to our ability to meet the healthcare needs of our community. NHRMC Pathology and Laboratory Services has successfully obtained evidence both to the feasibility and benefits of consolidating and standardizing similar services to ensure each site exceeds organizational and patient expectations.

 NHRMC was awarded a Touchstone Gold Award by Atrium Health for its success with this project.

The Team


  • Kevin Briggs
  • Ruth Glaser
  • LuAnn Stockton
  • David Parks
  • Astrid Keusseyan
  • Christopher McKinney, MD
  • Christy Spivey, RN
  • James Keller, MD
  • Babatunde Olatidoye, MD
  • John Turner, MD
  • Wanli Cheng, MD
  • Kevin McNabb, PhD
  • Bessie Collins
  • Donna Sweetman
  • Michael Register
  • Laurie Whalin, PharmD
  • Lisa Anderson
  • Jeffrey Celeste
  • Cindy Young
  • Daniel Goodwin
Categories: Advances in Care

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