How many of you work in a microbiology laboratory that is completely, and I mean completely, paper-free?
It is a nice goal to aspire to but it is also very difficult.
I think most of us are now past the days when the sample work-up was hand-written on the back of the request form (I certainly remember those days…) but this aside there are many other ways that paper can pervade our workplace.
Think about the following other potential sources of paper:
- Method Manuals
- Internal QC
- External QC
- Meeting Minutes
- Training Records
- Results coming back from Reference Labs
- Educational Material including journals and textbooks
- Order forms for consumables
How many of the above list is your lab ‘paperless’ in?
For a lab to be completely paperless it needs to be disciplined.
Not only does it need to not produce its own paper (I would recommend a printer ban..), but it also has to have systems for digitalising (by scanning) any paper that comes into the laboratory from external sources.
More hastle than it’s worth?
Maybe, but once the systems are in place, such a vision has the potential to produce a very clean and clutter-free laboratory. It will also be cost effective in terms of saving money on printers and paper.
I think truly progressive laboratories should aspire to these kinds of goals…