Mayo Clinic Labs @ Work
Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.
I’m a supervisor in the Mayo Lab Inquiry call center (MLI) — the customer service center for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. I’ve worked at Mayo Clinic for many years, but I’ve been in this supervisory role since October 2021. Before that, I was the assistant supervisor in MLI. Right now, there are over 70 call center agents in MLI, and I support 15 of those call center agents.
Our call center is the first stop for all our clients’ needs. If, for example, they need another test added on to a specimen they sent to Mayo Clinic Laboratories, we help with that. If they need to get test information — how to collect a sample, how to send a sample — we provide that. If they’re looking for interpretation of results, we will transfer the client or physician to the appropriate laboratory. Really, any question a client has, we triage all those calls.
My work specifically involves project meetings, scheduling, meeting with employees, education classes, and workforce management. I also work on implementing new systems to make things easier for our clients. I may even talk to a patient who comes through our line and needs assistance on obtaining results. I never really know what might come my way on a given day.
Every sample that comes to Mayo Clinic Laboratories is attached to a patient. We may not be working with a patient directly, but we do all we can to make sure those samples are sent to the lab with all the information needed to process the test ordered.
Our call center is the gateway between Mayo Clinic Laboratories clients and our physicians and other staff. We have a comprehensive system in place to ensure that clients get the answers they need quickly. All our representatives are trained to manage a complex laboratory's extensive information and are kept up to date on changes, so tests can be completed without delay.
We are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide timely service to our clients and staff at Mayo Clinic. Our call center handles about 1,000 incoming calls a day, fielding client questions. And we make that many outbound calls a day, too. Any discrepancy, any issue with testing that needs client input or information, we handle it. There can be 40,000 samples that come in the door daily, and any issues that might come up with them, we take care of them. In all, our call center handles over a million calls a year.
To keep it running smoothly, we have robust training for our call center agents that lasts three months, and then there are education sessions beyond that, too. We’re working hard to be one of the best call centers in the country. In our industry, we are well known as a premier call center for esoteric laboratory testing.
We all work from home now. During COVID, we took our entire team and shifted our call center agents — who had all been on-site before — to remote workers. That was big, successfully transitioning such a large team off-campus. Finding the best equipment and figuring out how to best get our team set up at home was a challenge. But we’ve piloted several options, and we’ve found a good setup for everyone now. And although it has been a challenge, it’s been exciting, too. For example, we all know the weather here in Minnesota isn’t always great. Now we don’t have to worry about our staff being able to get to work during those snowstorms. They are ready to go remotely. Being able to work from home has been positive in many ways, and we now have call center agents that live all over the U.S.
I like knowing that by taking care of the samples, we’re taking care of patients. What we do benefits people all over the world because we have clients all over the world. I also enjoy working with my team, learning and growing. There’s always something new to learn. This is definitely not a mundane job. It’s ever evolving and challenging. I enjoy working with the MLI community every day.
In her role as a proposal writer, Lisa Wortman Raring helps show clients everything Mayo Clinic Laboratories has to offer, making it clear how the organization can best meet their needs and the needs of their patients.
A pioneering researcher, Dr. Vanda Lennon has spent five decades delving into questions of neuroimmunology. Today, she continues that work as director of the Neuroimmunology Research Laboratory in Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.