How The In-Office Lab Team Positively Influences Patient Care
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges and upend routines, the in-office lab team at Mission Cancer + Blood carries on together, working to provide a consistent and care-focused approach to every patient who visits.
“The pandemic hasn’t changed what we do, but it absolutely has made an impact on how we do it,” said Kris Hoover, laboratory manager at Mission Cancer + Blood. “Our phlebotomists and technicians work in a confined area where we move around a lot; that kind of environment would be stressful under normal circumstances, but our amazing team comes to work excited to serve our patients every day. That attitude is contagious.”
Having an in-office lab team reduces the delays typically associated with labs drawn by other facilities. The phlebotomists on the team draw blood and help reassure patients. The technicians analyze the blood samples, screen for changes and quickly prepare the patient’s blood count results in advance of their physician appointment. The patient’s physician receives the results in a timely fashion enabling them to quickly tailor the patient’s care and treatments.
“This one-stop shop for services is really one of the biggest benefits at Mission,” Kris said. “Our patients visit the lab right after check in, we do their bloodwork and then they meet with their physician team. Then, the patient receives their results before going on to receive further treatment. Some of our patients spend many hours here in one visit, so we take a lot of pride in the quick work our team does to help them minimize the wait.”
Mission Cancer + Blood has three separate laboratories, with a Complete Blood Count (CBC) analyzer at each location. “Our technicians utilize the CBC analyzers to interpret values for multiple aspects of blood health at once, including red blood cell count, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, platelet counts and more,” Kris said. “It gives physicians and our patients a full picture of any abnormalities or changes since the last blood panel.”
Even though a patient usually spends just 10-15 minutes in the lab each visit, the team understands how vital their roles are in making each patient feel as calm as possible.
“We really have such a talented team of phlebotomists, and our patients tell us that as well – a few patients have their favorite team member and we really try to honor that each visit,” said Jane Osterson, chief operating officer at Mission Cancer + Blood.
For anyone who has had to give blood and been stuck more than once to find the vein, they know how stressful and painful that is.
“Our patients already have sensitive veins because they need to give blood samples often,” Kris said. “The team treats every patient interaction like that patient is a VIP, no matter how long they’ve been coming to us.”
Kris said that this high-energy, team-focused spirit of technicians and phlebotomists is one of the biggest differentiators during this pandemic. “These days are long and emotional, but the team continues to come to work excited and focused on our patients. Everyone works really well together and supports each other, and I’m so grateful to work with this group of talented healthcare professionals.”