There is no doubt that sustainability and stability remain essential for the work of any organization as they define its success. The importance of sustainability seems to increase when it comes to healthcare because patient outcomes heavily depend on the quality of service.
The General Meaning of the Concept of Sustainability
Among other important concepts, sustainability is often used in different spheres of human activity such as business, science, and politics; despite a range of similarities that exist between the use of the term in these fields, there are also peculiarities caused by different goals and objectives of people related to these fields (1). In general, sustainability is presented as the ability of an organism or a system created by people (such as an organization) to be productive and fulfill its primary functions on a daily basis. On the premise that sustainability is the term that was initially used with reference to the environment, it needs to be noted that its wider meaning also includes the ability to withstand the negative influence of various factors such as the lack of resources and the detrimental outcomes of the human activity (2).
Significance of Sustainability in Diagnostic Laboratories
Diagnostic laboratories are considered as a part of the sphere which needs to be sustainable as the outcomes of the laboratory practices have a strong impact on the quality of healthcare. Also, it makes the use of high-quality equipment a critical factor (3). In fact, the failure to achieve sustainability of a diagnostic laboratory can be regarded as a significant threat to the quality of healthcare in a certain region as deficient diagnostic credibility of results is often incompatible with the timeliness of care (4). Medicine and healthcare form the entire system, and the failure of one of its parts to fulfill its functions on a regular basis to provide attending physicians and other specialists with credible information will immediately result in a growing number of medical errors.
Therefore, sustainability of a diagnostic laboratory involves specialists’ ability to meet the requirements related both to quantity and quality: provide enough clients with service and present results that would have diagnostic credibility. In order to achieve sustainability, specialists who are responsible for tooling up a laboratory and regulating its work should pay close attention to the working order of equipment and its exploitation safety. Speaking about sustainability in connection with a diagnostic laboratory, is it also necessary to note that the former is strictly interconnected to all essential parts of the working process. Therefore, to achieve sustainability, one needs to improve working practices while paying attention to all factors that have an impact on outcomes for clients and the overall credibility of results. These factors include workforce, place, and equipment used for diagnostic testing.
Speaking about the significance of sustainability in diagnostic laboratories, it is extremely important to analyze the given concept in connection with the personal work-related experience. As for my laboratory placement, there is a range of practices that contribute to the sustainability of the entire system. These practices can be classified based on the primary resources that they touch upon.
One of the most important factors that define the overall sustainability of a system is the workforce. Thus, as it follows from the work-related experience that I can use, specialists working in my laboratory placement are encouraged to devote time to self-education on a regular basis. As for the particular practices contributing to the sustainability of the entire laboratory, our employees on all levels are provided with access to the popular databases which contain the most recent articles devoted to clinical testing and the credibility of its results. Personally, I try to use these or other sources once I feel that there is a need to identify potential blind spots and be ready to work productively despite the undesirable factors.
Apart from that, another practice in my laboratory placement increasing its sustainability is the timely and regular equipment inspection that has a positive influence on the diagnostic credibility of results. In fact, due to the strict quality control, we manage to achieve sustainability and prevent the inaccuracies related to the results of clinical tests. Another practice that needs to be focused on is related to the wise use of energy; the latter acts as one of the primary principles for us. To be more precise, increased attention is paid to safety arrangements, and our employees are always reminded to turn off the equipment that is not used at the moment and switch off the light in those rooms that are not occupied by their co-workers (5). The discussed practice contributes to the sustainability of the laboratory placement because the money saved with its help can be invested in additional education for employees or equipment procurement.
Analyzing the situation in connection with the particular laboratory placement, it is necessary to define possible strategies and practices that can improve its sustainability even more. I suppose that we will need to collaborate with a wider range of suppliers of the testing equipment or even buy equipment that has already been used to save money to design and implement additional measures helping to prevent clinical testing mistakes and reduce the improper use of equipment and energy that threaten the sustainability of the laboratory (6).
In the end, achieving sustainability of a diagnostic laboratory is a complicated process that involves the development and implementation of a range of measures related to the primary resources such as workforce, place, and equipment. My personal experience indicates that sustainability is inextricably connected with education for employees and accident prevention.
- Beckmann M, Hielscher S, Pies I. Commitment strategies for sustainability: how business firms can transform trade-offs into win-win outcomes. Bus Strategy and the Environment. 2014;23(1): 18-37.
- Schell SF, Luke DA, Schooley MW, Elliott MB, Herbers SH, Mueller, NB, et al. Public health program capacity for sustainability: a new framework. Implement Sci. 2013;8(1): 15.
- Diagnostic laboratory equipment. Pretoria (South Africa): IEPSA Medical Diagnostics; Web.
- Robinson JC, Whaley C, Brown TT. Association of reference pricing for diagnostic laboratory testing with changes in patient choices, prices, and total spending for diagnostic tests. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9): 1353-1359.
- Jimena P, López-Lería B, Clavero A, Gonzalvo MC, Serrano M, López-Regalado, ML, et al. Occupational safety in the embryology laboratory. Med Reprod Embriol Clín; 2016;3(2): 85-91.
- Distributors of diagnostic equipment and medical lab equipment. Bolton (UK): Woodley Laboratory Diagnostics; Web.