We’ve all had to do our part this year. For many pathology laboratory owners, this means providing COVID-19 testing. As COVID cases spike, the US needs efficient test results, and the only way to keep things efficient is to avoid a backlog of tests. That’s why America’s pathology labs have stepped up to the plate. So, what does your laboratory need to join the ranks? We’ve outlined everything below, including how to find the right pathology software.
The First Steps
Before your laboratory can begin COVID-19 testing, it will need to meet certain criteria. For a more detailed look at each step, check out our guide to COVID-19 testing for pathology labs. Meanwhile, here are the basics.
First, make sure that your pathology software can handle RT-PCR testing. Most COVID-19 tests use this method for diagnoses. If your laboratory already uses RT-PCR, then you’re ready to move forward.
Next, your laboratory will need CLIA certification. You can take a look at the CMS explanation for obtaining this certification if you don’t already have it.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can get your test kits directly from the CDC.
Flexibility in Your Pathology Software
Once you’ve obtained everything you need, you’ll still want to make sure that your laboratory is fully equipped to handle its portion of the COVID-19 testing demand. This means ensuring that you have the right pathology software at your fingertips. Your software should absolutely have enough flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing situation.
When you add COVID-19 testing to your laboratory’s services, you’ll have to adjust your current workflows so that your lab has the time and space it needs to get everything done. That’s why the best pathology software in this day and age is the kind of software that offers workflow adaptability. Some software call for laboratories to change their workflows, but the right software will do the opposite: instead of forcing laboratories to adjust, it will fit the laboratory’s needs. Otherwise, adapting to new software can take more time than necessary, and during a pandemic, you don’t have time to lose.
Worklist Order Simplicity
Next, your software needs simple worklist order options. For COVID-19 testing, the CDC requires a quick turnaround for results. With automation and organization, your worklists can help you make sure that your lab processes test results within the CDC-approved time frame.
You already know that batching can help your lab keep its entries organized, and organization leads to efficiency. You can increase both organization and efficiency if you can make your batching system work for you. The right pathology software can help. For example, with COVID-19 tests, you can batch tests according to positive or negative results.
Software With Accessibility
Along with flexibility, accessibility is one of the most important parts of excellent pathology software, especially in the age of COVID-19. User-friendliness always matters, but it matters, even more, when you’re adding new testing capabilities to your laboratory. The factors we’ve listed below can increase user-friendliness and prevent snags along the way.
Again, organization is crucial for COVID-19 testing, so why not look for automated organization? No matter how big or small your laboratory may be, automation and intuitiveness can help your lab techs get used to these new tests and work with them effectively.
Generally, the hierarchical organization works best. Your new COVID-19 testing procedures may have all of your lab techs working at the same time. The more tests your lab performs, the more work your techs must do, and many techs will probably work on the same tasks. You can avoid confusion with an organizational hierarchy that clearly shows which tasks have been completed.
Finally, you can’t have accessible pathology software without affordability. The demand for COVID-19 tests will likely keep rising, especially after the holidays. With such high demand, the US is struggling to keep up. The more laboratories make themselves available, the more this burden will be alleviated.
And that’s why affordability matters. Most laboratories can’t just jump into action without affordable pathology software. When laboratories can afford great software, they can afford to get to work as soon as possible.
How to Find the Right Pathology Software During COVID-19
Choosing a new pathology software is a big decision at the best of times. It’s an even bigger decision during a pandemic. When you look for your software, try to balance your urgency with careful research. The most important thing that you can do is look for software with all of the above properties. If you can find software that checks off all of the right boxes, you can make sure that your laboratory is as effective as possible.