May 11, 2012
Behind the Scenes with the KCH Lab Team
The men and women who work round the clock, often behind the scenes in laboratory care and services play a critical role in your health care.
“Did you know that…. 75% of all medical decisions are dependent upon laboratory results? Among other responsibilities, lab techs analyze human bodily fluids for disease and infection, monitor patients’ health, and ensure that blood is safe for transfusion,” said Mary Parana, RN and Director of Outpatient Services.
KCH’s Lab Manager is Nancy Hagg, MT. The team consists of Sonia Anderson-Costanzo, Phlebotomist; Kim Crana, Phlebotomist; Laurel Odonnell, Phlebotomist; Caitlyn Barber, Phlebotomist Sam Cercone, MT; Samantha VonArx, MT; Dave Plummer, MLT; Brandi Bryington, MLT; Keith Nicolaus, MLT; and Dori Holtzhauser, MLT, and Greg Steffan, MLT.
“At the end of March, the Lab was visited by an inspector from COLA, the Lab accrediting agency. The inspection, that occurs once every two years, involves extensive investigation into every aspect of the lab. Each department within the lab is intricately analyzed for documentation of all quality control records and maintenance of results. Laboratory personnel are observed as the clinical processes are assessed.” said Samantha VonArx, MT (ASCP) “The KCH Lab passed the inspection with a 96%! We are extremely happy with our accomplishment!”
“In addition to drawing and testing blood for hospital patients. the ER and routine lab outpatient services, analyzing blood and specimens, the Lab team also conducts early lab hours at KCH's Ridgway, Johnsonburg, Sheffield and Mt. Jewett hospital-based clinics. The KCH Lab team also coordinates and analyzes the blood drawn from seven community-partnered Multiphasic Blood Screenings in which more than 2,000 individuals participate annually, and they support 12 Community Blood Bank Drives (six at KCH and six at the Kane Area Community Center) each year,” commented Nancy Hagg, MT and Lab Manager.
“In the past couple of years virtually every instrument in the lab has been replaced or updated to enhance the quality of testing and improve patient care. This goes from chemistry, to blood bank, to hematology, coag, and even urines. We have the most modern technology to provide patients with accurate results,” noted Hagg.
"The next time you are served by a KCH Lab professional, think of the critical role he or she plays. The Lab team may often be behind the scenes, but they are front and center in helping diagnose and create the opportunity for the best possible treatment," Hagg said.
The LAB Analyzer provides enhanced patient care and services. Pictured (l-r) Dori Holtzhauser, MLT; David Plummer, MLT; and Samantha VonArx, MT with their Versa-Trek, which automates blood cultures. This meets standard of care for patients. In years gone by this was a manual procedure. With automation our TTD (time to detection) for positive blood cultures has been decreased by 60%. Clinically, blood cultures are important in detecting sepsis, infection in the bloodstream. With this acquisition, KCH detects infection sooner, thus leading to faster identification of the harmful bacteria, accelerating administration of effective treatment, and shortening the duration of a hospital stay.
Here are Sonia Anderson-Costanzo, Phlebotomist; Brandi Bryington, MLT; Samantha VonArx, MT pointing; and David Plummer, MLT with KCH’s new Hematology analyzer, the Coulter LH 500. It is the instrument that performs CBCs (complete blood counts) and differentials, which tells us the number and types of white blood cells in a sample. CBCs are a fundamental test in the laboratory because they can detect anemia, increased WBC counts associated with infection, and platelet counts that are important for blood clotting. We received the Coulter LH 500 in our laboratory in February and since then, it has been our primary analyzer for CBCs. It is one of the instruments used during KCH Multiphasic Blood Screenings, capable of running hundreds of tests in one session. The new instrument is equipped with the latest technology to provide fast and accurate testing for quality patient care.
Here is KCH’s ACL Elite, a coagulation instrument. It performs tests associated with the clotting of blood. For example, the Elite can test a patient's Prothrombin Time, or PT, which can monitor blood thinners like Coumadin or it can tell whether or not a person may bleed excessively during surgery. The Elite can also perform a D-Dimer test, which is often used to aid in the diagnosis of blood clots, as in deep vein thrombosis. The Elite was acquired in our lab over the past several years.