The proper collection of laboratory specimens is critical to the success of laboratory tests. Nyack Hospital recognized that too many urinalysis tests were inconclusive due to collection problems—patients not using good collection practices, specimens not being refrigerated while being transported, and the lack of a standardized collection process across the organization.
Nyack employees, using a Lean Sigma philosophy, set about to improve the quality of specimens and ensure better test results to improve clinical data, better meet patients' needs, and avoid the expense of duplicate testing. New processes were developed and instituted organization wide, and the urine specimen contamination rate was reduced from 20% to 6% in the first year and to under 1% in the second year. The Lean Sigma team continues to monitor this process, and has found sustainable results with documented cost savings.