to main content Increasing Internal Visibility | The Joint Commission

Ihab Abumuhor lives and breathes medical laboratory awareness — and has the experience to back it up.

Ihab serves as Director of Laboratory Services with Torrance Memorial Medical Center, a large nationally ranked hospital in southern California. Additionally, he is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Health and Human Services at California State University. Before his role with Torrance Memorial, Ihab spent more than 20 years at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles as the Transfusion Medicine Associate Director.

Over the years, Ihab has observed that hospital laboratory staff are often the unsung heroes of health care, with the notable exception of their recognition during the COVID-19 pandemic. This perception may not be bothersome to some within the profession — many seek this role to contribute to patient care while staying out of the spotlight.

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Health care organizations can elevate their labs’ work and promote their vital role in patient care and outcomes with a little creativity and added focus on relationships and communication.
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Though laboratory professionals might shy away from the spotlight, promoting the profession can be a boon for employee culture.
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Increasing lab visibility is a foundational pillar of the Leading Laboratories designation, which is a collaborative program between American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and The Joint Commission. Achieving this status — signifying laboratory excellence — results in a positive feedback loop, as laboratories can promote this accomplishment and further enhance visibility and credibility.
However, Ihab argues that this lack of visibility hurts the profession in the long run. It can also make running an accurate and efficient lab more challenging. 
In a webinar hosted by The Joint Commission, Ihab expands on his favorite topic. He shares why increasing lab visibility, a pillar of The Joint Commission and ASCP’s Leading Laboratories designation, is critical for medical laboratories while providing tried and true strategies that accomplish this.

Why Increased Internal Visibility Matters For Your Lab

Hospital labs that achieve the Leading Laboratories recognition demonstrate a commitment to laboratory excellence that goes above and beyond accreditation requirements. One of the pillars foundational to gaining this designation involves improving the visibility of the lab, especially within the health care organization.

Here are a couple of compelling reasons why internal lab promotion supports this process and, ultimately, the patient experience.

️Attract Strong Lab Talent

Staffing challenges significantly impact hospital labs across the country. Promoting the lab within the hospital can mitigate what Ihab describes as a "lack of recognition and appreciation that the staff feels are not coming from … within the health system that we work at.”

Added visibility to the profession and department can improve staff culture, ultimately attracting and retaining top talent.

️Increase Collaboration and Coordination

Labs don't operate within a vacuum. Instead, they rely on interactions with multiple departments within a healthcare organization. A greater understanding of the role of the hospital's laboratory opens the door to improved communication and efficiency among departments.

The benefits of promoting lab visibility are clear, but how to accomplish this may seem obscure. Ihab sheds some light on this topic with some specific suggestions that get results.

Top Ways to Promote Your Lab

Increasing the visibility of your hospital's laboratory within the organization requires thoughtful dedication — and a dash of creativity. An effective strategy includes a combination of building relationships with different departments and providing education about topics related to the lab.

Ihab shares a few tips that enhance and sustain results.

1. Participate in Committees

Hospital committees serve a valuable role in health systems. They bring departments together, working on a common goal. They increase employee satisfaction by serving as a vehicle for meaningful improvement.

Ihab recommends that hospital labs consider implementing a high-value stream committee to address process improvement and cost savings.

Potential objectives include outreach services to create new revenue, increasing blood collection in-house, reducing blood and test utilization, transitioning to new vendors and reviewing contracts and agreements to find any potential cost-saving opportunities.

2. Speak Up in Meetings

The art of visibility involves more than showing up at meetings — it also means bringing the lab's voice to the table. Don't be guilty of sitting in silence. "I see people all the time say, I have nothing to add," Ihab says.

Instead, come prepared with a short presentation of pertinent lab topics. After preparing a general slide deck, use it in subsequent meetings, making minor adjustments as needed for future meetings.

Ihab suggests using topics that highlight work done in the lab.

Possible presentation topics include key performance indicators, ordering practices, new technologies in the lab, changes in reference ranges, test utilization and applicable metrics like the turnaround time for the ED on critical values such as troponin levels or basic metabolic panel results.

3. Develop Relationships with IT and Marketing

Don't waste precious time and resources determining how to carry out your vision. If you don't already have a strong partnership with your IT and marketing departments, now is the time to work on this.

4. Spread the Word


Internal hospital newsletters are a natural way to promote what's happening in the lab. If your hospital doesn't already have a newsletter, consider working with other departments to initiate one.

,,[Newsletters] can highlight lab improvement, new certification, new technologies and [inform stakeholders about] very important updates that we send out for new test changes and methodologies.,,

Ihab Abumuhor - Director, Laboratory Services - Torrance Memorial Medical Center

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A doctor in a white lab coat uses a laptop in a lab.

5. Make Rounds with Management

The theme of building relationships to increase lab visibility also means making rounds with managers and directors outside the lab. Not only does this spread awareness about what's happening in the lab, but it also opens the line of communication for process improvements.  

6. Communicate with Medical Staff and Nursing 

Effective communication opens the door for collaboration on projects that can amplify the visibility of your medical lab. Examples of potential opportunities include research, publications and educational programming.

For this reason, Ihab emphasizes the need for communication with medical staff and nursing education.

7. Make Computer Screens Your Partner

For better or worse, computer screens are an integral part of health care. Different departments within the hospital spend time every shift completing administrative or patient-care-related tasks electronically.

Ihab suggests labs capitalize on this opportunity by developing screen savers to spread the word about relevant lab updates.

8. Create Videos

Engaging video content can be a powerful tool to educate others on the critical role of the hospital lab. There are several different directions your lab could take with video content.

Ihab suggests labs consider creating videos for topics such as blood donation, specimen collection, lab processes and new automation.

At Torrance Memorial, Ihab notes that videos that spotlight staff in leadership roles share what a typical workday is like and help other departments get to know them on a more personal level.

9. Celebrate Lab Week

Every April, labs across the nation celebrate laboratory professionals. This annual celebration provides an opportunity for labs to promote their work internally.

At Torrance Memorial, they took the celebration to another level this year. Ihab recalls that the lab department booked an auditorium and invited senior executives and leadership from other departments like nursing, IT, emergency department, marketing and human resources.

10. Capitalize Go-Lives

When new developments in lab technology are ready to launch, this provides a prime opportunity to spotlight the profession. Ihab encourages labs to extend the celebration with other departments and pair "go-lives" with ribbon-cutting ceremonies that engage senior executives.

Final Thoughts on The Leading Laboratories Designation

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Increasing the internal visibility of the laboratory plays a crucial part in growing and sustaining the profession. This, in part, is what makes lab promotion foundational to the Leading Laboratories designation.
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Implementing a strategy that involves the development of relationships and staff education paves the way for success. The Joint Commission and ASCP’s Leading Laboratories designation offers an additional way to recognize and promote the excellent work your hospital lab provides daily.