Specimen Processing Workstations (PODs)

Floor plan showing ARUP's Automation System and Specimen Processing PODs

ARUP’s Specimen Processing department is organized into five rows which are alongside the input conveyor tracks of the automation system. As shown in the accompanying graphic, each row is further divided into PODs, which consist of four individual workstations staffed by specimen processors who perform essential accessioning functions by working as a unified team. The members of a POD are able to easily collaborate with each other to ensure that all required steps are performed and that specimens are accessioned efficiently and accurately. Each POD is responsible for processing all specimens received in specific areas or shipments, which ensures more accurate accessioning, especially when specimens of different temperature types (refrigerated, frozen, or room temperature) are submitted on the same patient, and each specimen must be closely evaluated and checked before placing on the automated transport system. Each POD consists of 3 processing technicians and one support staff member. The latter are typically seasoned employees who receive additional training in all aspects of the department and can address most issues that arise. This leads to a self-sufficient and fully functional team in which the employees have all resources in close proximity and are not required to leave the POD when questions arise.

Each row of Specimen Processing PODs is organized into teams. Each team is led by a specific Lead worker and a Workflow Coordinator, along with quality, training and exception handling staff members. The Lead and Workflow coordinators assign inbound shipments to their PODs to ensure optimal staffing levels are matched properly with the inbound shipments. Quality staff members (editors) review processed orders for accuracy. Training staff members ensures that all POD members are current on all training needs and quickly address any training opportunities that arise. Trainers and POD members utilize the ARUP’s internally developed Employee Improvement Tracking (EIT) application to track and automatically capture any improvement opportunities that may arise. Exception Handling staff serve as a triage or secondary review step and they help resolve issues that require client contact. The end result is highly functioning team where problems requiring additional help are either quickly resolved or are removed from the line so that they can be resolved with the client. The organization of the POD and teams assures an efficient operation with extremely high quality while improving employee satisfaction and engagement.