Interior Health eyes changes to lab services

Interior Health has begun investigating how to improve lab services throughout the East Kootenay region.

Interior Health has begun investigating how to improve lab services throughout the East Kootenay region.

“We have a need to move in a different direction, (and) to adopt a different business model,” said Marty Woods, Interior Health’s regional director of lab services. “We have committed that we (Interior Health) will be coming out and doing a large scale (public) engagement sessions across every site with all of the physicians and caregivers; so no decisions have been made yet. This is just sort of an announcement that we need to go in a different direction.”

The growing demand for complex testing by lab services has been hampered by staffing recruitment, budgets and tools, as well as service equity.

But the most distinct problem that affects the quality of service is retention.

“There just simply are not enough new technologists being trained and coming into the system to be able to backfill the potential retirements that are forthcoming,” said Mr. Woods, noting that nearly 50 per cent of his staff are expected to retire in the next five years. “And this isn’t a problem that exists only in Interior Health. This is actually a phenomenon that is nationwide. Nationwide, there is a shortage of lab technologists, so given that we’ve got the shortages coming, we’re saying we need to find a different business model and we’re proposing that we’re going to work with the physicians and caregivers in each community to figure out the best approach for each community.”

Mr. Woods believes improving the quality of services over a two-year period will require some creativity, research and public engagement sessions in different communities.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter solution for each community,” he said. “It’s about finding the best solution for each community, and so that solution may be introducing what we call Point of Care Technology. Point of Care Technology is a portable, hand-held device that can do a test and provide the result right beside the patient.”

The proposed vision for this transition could mean centralizing lab services, which could mean that a patient’s test results will be sent to Kelowna General Hospital for analysis.

Interior Health has plans to discuss the prospective changes to lab services not only with health care professionals but their corresponding unions. However, it remains unknown when the plans will be in effect.

“We’re going to start (public engagement) sessions in September,” said Mr. Woods. “We haven’t got them scheduled yet, but we’re going to start working with the medical and caregiver community in the fall. These sessions will go on for a period of time. It’s probably going to take a couple of months to go through every site and hear all of their feedback, then come back and ask more questions, so we’ll be doing this throughout the fall.”

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read