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Who Should Be on a UM Team?

These six members would make a good core-group for a UM team.
  1. UM team leader or chair-- The leader/chair of the UM team (or committee) should be someone in your laboratory system who has the authority to drive change. The most obvious choice would be one of the laboratory directors. Other possibilities could be: a laboratory manager, section supervisor, operations manager, or pathologist. Laboratory professionals are the most qualified to deal with laboratory UM issues. They must own the UM issue and lead their institution's efforts. Not only are laboratory professionals the most knowledgeable in the operational details of lab testing, they can also benefit from increased visibility within the health care system. UM efforts led by laboratory professionals provide visibility.
  2. Informatics/Laboratory information system (LIS) representative-- Many of the problems and solutions a UM team deals with will focus around the LIS and the electronic medical record (EMR).
  3. Client Services Representative-- A client services representative, patient coordinator, or someone in a similar position can provide patient perspective to the team.
  4. Physician representative-- A physician will not only help in the process of vetting which projects are most clinically relevant, he/she will also be your chief advocate when it comes to clinician communication and education. Although one or more physicians should be a part of the team, they should not dominate the team meeting proceedings.
  5. Evidence-based practice (EBP) representative-- An individual skilled in EBP methods would be an important addition to the team, if your health care organization is fortunate enough to have an EBP department. An EBP specialist has the ability to review and summarize medical research, which will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your UM team efforts.
  6. Accounting/Business manager-- A person who can discuss the laboratory's budget, charge capture, vendor contracts, and CMS regulations will also be an essential member.
While not as essential, some other suggestions include:
  • Genetic counselor-- Many of the tests that a UM team will address are genetic tests. Having someone with this expertise as a team member can save a lot of time and help give the team a broader perspective.
  • Referred tests coordinator--If your lab has a person delegated to managing send out testing, consider adding this person to the team.
  • Laboratory supervisors-- Laboratory technical section supervisors (chemistry, hematology, microbiology, etc.), phlebotomy, and clerical staff supervisors can provide insights into test ordering patterns and test volumes.
  • Chief of Pathology-- Getting the endorsement of the chief of pathology obviously goes a long way when implementing laboratory changes. Having the chief of pathology on the team keeps him/her in the loop. A chief can also make a good chair if he/she is not too busy . More often though, chief pathologists will opt to be on the team rather than lead the team because of the time commitment.