Preparing a customer performance update report


The outreach laboratory fills a vital role in the community by servicing nursing homes, physician offices, and other hospital laboratories that share the common goal of providing accurate, timely answers to patients. This service keeps patient testing local and strengthens the value of the laboratory.

Depending on the types of specimens that are referred, there may be an opportunity to share a customer performance update report with the client so that they can align with, or even develop their own laboratory continuous improvement initiatives. This data-sharing provides valuable metrics and allows the client an opportunity to improve their services. Below are items worth considering for inclusion when preparing a customer performance update report.

Specimen or order integrity issues

Provide the date/time, ordering provider, phlebotomist name, test, and a detailed description of the error: hemolyzed, QNS, mislabeled, clotted, unlabeled, incomplete requisition, missing billing information (ICD-10, insurance information, etc.). The reviewed data may show a root cause that can be fixed with a bit of extra training and education.

Customer service support

Provide a summary of the types of calls that the customer’s staff made to the laboratory. If there are similar calls on a related topic, identify the necessary resources needed to support the customer so they make fewer calls to the laboratory. Examples may include procedures for adding on a test, canceling a test, or providing a direct phone number to reach a specific department. Personalized and responsive support confirms their decision to use your laboratory and creates a seamless relationship.

Courier transportation issues

Having an open dialog regarding courier services may help identify issues, such as correct packing of specimens, lock box issues, parking issues, or timeliness of specimen preparedness. Any delay in transporting specimens to the laboratory impacts processing and turnaround time. When a customer understands how their individual processes impact the entire courier pick-up schedule, they may be more willing to work to be a good partner in preparing their specimens for delivery to the laboratory.

Supply issues

The supplies provided to clients for testing should align with the volume the laboratory receives. A customer may not have an efficient supply management process and make unnecessary demands for urgent delivery of supplies, not appreciating the extra costs incurred by this process. When a customer urgently orders supplies, the laboratory should document the occurrence. A customer performance update visit is a good opportunity to educate client staff on how to take inventory and maintain par levels of supplies.

Other business topics

During a customer performance update discussion, the laboratory should ask, “How is our laboratory doing?” The customer may share some issues that they are experiencing with utilizing the laboratory department. Giving attention to customer-originated topics will give the laboratory an opportunity to address them immediately or at the next regular customer performance update meeting.

Common issues are frequently related to a lack of communication between the customer and the laboratory. Whenever the unexpected happens, the customer should be notified when it impacts patient care. The discussion can provide proactive communication about upcoming or anticipated events that may impact service to the customer.

Outreach customers have a choice in laboratories, and the staff want to provide excellent care to their patients. The customer’s role is to provide appropriate specimens, with complete information, and the laboratory must provide timely and accurate results. Through identifying issues and working together to resolve them, the customer and the laboratory are aligned in their mission of putting the needs of the patient first.

Ellen Dijkman Dulkes

Ellen Dijkman Dulkes is an Outreach Solutions Strategist for MCL. She is a medical technologist and has over 35 years of progressive professional growth within the laboratory. She enjoys meeting new people and helping laboratories to grow their outreach business.