Baystate Reference Laboratories Get SMART

Much like a UPS or Fed Ex package, Baystate Reference Laboratories specimens travel from their point of origin to a specific destination, often making a few stops along the way. But unlike those big name delivery services, the Baystate Lab Information System (LIS) team lacked similar technology to truly track the specimen while en route—until recently, that is.  

Sunquest SMART (Specimen Maintenance, Routing, and Tracking) is the new system implemented by the LIS team and core lab team to track a lab specimen from the point of origin to its destination. SMART makes it easy to locate the correct specimen in its exact spot along the journey from patient service center, to courier vehicle, to analyzer, to storage, and everywhere in between.  

Robert Bourgeault, director of Laboratory Operations in the Department of Pathology at Baystate, notes, “SMART will make us more efficient,” a prediction that is already becoming a reality. To date, SMART has produced a 31% improvement in timeliness and accuracy of specimen deliveries to testing labs.  

Bringing Teams Together

Before SMART, the teams were careful and methodical to ensure that specimens were safely transported, but it required significant resources, particularly as business expanded. This new system brings greater efficiency to the process.  

Denise Irons, director of Laboratory Information Systems at Baystate, partnered with Bourgeault and teams across the health system to lead the year and half long SMART implementation from database testing, to workflow analysis, and code building to support the installation.  

“This was the most complicated SMART build the vendor had ever been a part of, but also the quickest downtime at go-live they said they’ve ever seen,” Irons said. “It was a smooth conversion and I am very proud of these teams.”  

Bourgeault agreed, “This project has fostered teamwork, communication, and eye-opening experiences for folks as we learned more about the gaps that we have. The process has been a great unifying factor among testing and business teams, and specimen processing. It brought us together in new ways.”  

SMART is currently available at Baystate Medical Center, Franklin Medical Center, and Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center. It will be implemented at Baystate Wing Hospital and Baystate Noble Hospital in the future.