Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centres Involvement in Software Innovation Presented at China Summit

SIOUX LOOKOUT, ON—As the Lab Manager for Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), Brenda Voth understands the pressure to deliver timely and decisive lab results, just one of the many demands of an acute care hospital lab. So when leading life science company Bio-Rad Laboratories Limited approached the Kenora Rainy River Regional Lab Program with an opportunity to pilot the first version of their risk management software—designed specifically to meet these needs—Voth and the 5 other regional lab managers jumped at the chance.

“At that time in 2015, no other North America labs had ever used the Mission:Control software, so it was quite an opportunity for our area labs,” said Voth had who anticipated immediate benefits. “Deciding what quality control rules to use is a time-consuming and sometimes ambiguous process, often left to the lab manager or senior technologist. I felt that, if it worked as promised, Mission:Control could relieve that added workload.”

As it turned out, the software exceeded her expectations. Its ability to eliminate false rejections saved the equivalent of around two weeks of full-time work per year, according to Voth’s estimates. The time saved from troubleshooting was a boon for her department. More importantly, the decrease in troubleshooting allowed patient results to be released consistently quicker.  Voth explained that if the quality control passes and no troubleshooting is needed, then the result can be released immediately, in some cases 10 to 20 minutes earlier because of the Mission:Control software.

Voth pointed out what she sees as Mission:Control’s greatest perk. “The way it constantly pulls the data and does behind-the-scenes calculations decreases the likelihood of sending out an incorrect patient result. That’s the most important part of the software—total risk management for patient care.”

Recognizing her aptitude for the software, Bio-Rad later decided to beta test the next version of Mission:Control solely with Voth and her SLMHC lab team starting in early 2018.

“It was a natural next step to invite Brenda and her team to participate in the Mission:Control 2 Early Adopter program,” said Kevin Koole, Business Manager for Bio-Rad. “Brenda is herself a champion and ‘super-user’ of Mission:Control, regularly evaluating risk performance as part of on-going lab operations, but also providing Bio-Rad with feedback and suggestions for improvement. She and the SLMHC team have uncovered efficiencies that will allow staff to better understand complex quality control rules as well as run the appropriate amount of daily quality control.”

Last October, Bio-Rad sent Voth to the Quality Control Summit in Beijing, China to share SLMHC’s experience with its leading-edge software.

Voth estimated there were around 200 lab managers and directors in attendance, which was much larger than what she had initially anticipated. Regardless, she went into her very first summit presentation undaunted. While toting the software’s benefits, Voth also acknowledged that the SLMHC lab was the first lab in North America to pass accreditation with this software in place.

“The accreditors had never seen the program before, but I reviewed it with them and they agreed that it completely complies. The fact that assessors are now familiar with Mission:Control can give other labs confidence to implement the software themselves… It’s nice knowing we are pioneers in that.”

Koole acknowledged how Voth’s informative presentation helped stimulate interest in the software and inspired the audience. “Brenda spoke of her success in using Mission:Control to turn statistics into actions that improved lab efficiency, quality, and speed—all of which improved patient care. It’s a real Canadian success story.”

SLMHC President & CEO Heather Lee further extolled the lab manager’s efforts. “Brenda is a leader in her field. Being asked to present her findings to fellow healthcare professionals halfway around the world is testament to that. She committed herself to improve the quality of services we offer at SLMHC, and she did so by teaming with fellow leaders in the field—milestones in both innovation and collaboration.”

“I am fortunate to work for an organization that values innovation and partnership,” said Voth. “Together, we work with our partners to offer the best and newest technologies available. Being remote doesn’t mean we should go without. All our patients deserve the best.”