General introduction

In United Family Healthcare (UFH) laboratories, it is our commitment to serve our patients with the utmost excellence. Our laboratories offer services by highly-skilled professionals. The laboratory in the flagship Beijing United Family Hospital is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in tissue pathology, laboratory medicine, and blood bank. All UFH Laboratories are managed based on strict standards and regularly participate in international and national/local laboratory proficiency testing programs to ensure our tests and exam results are accurate and comparable with other laboratories.

UFH pathologists and technologists are highly-trained and constantly support each other in order to provide ongoing and efficient support to front line medical staff enabling quick diagnoses and accurate treatment plans.

What makes us unique

UFH laboratories follow both local Chinese government regulations, and also the rigorous CAP standards, participating in their international quality control scheme (in which exceptional results are always achieved). Our laboratories are equipped with up-to-date, fully automated laboratory machines, which are also subject to regular quality control, ensuring that accurate, timely results are available for the front line clinical staff.

We currently provide about 1000 different types of laboratory tests to support both our expatriate and local physicians in giving high quality patient care. We are open 24/7 providing full services in hematology, clinical chemistry, clinical microscopy and parasitology, microbiology, immunology, tissue pathology and cytology, blood banking, toxicology and molecular tests. Within the laboratory, each team works closely together, having regular cross specialty teaching, and excellent interdisciplinary team work, leading to more rapid detection of some unusual problems.

In addition, each laboratory team has a close clinical working relationship with the frontline doctors, and is capable of providing clinicians with results within short a timeframe, immediately calling out critical results to the clinical team, so aiding in the rapid management of patients.

UFH benefits hugely from having its own tissue pathology service, vital in the diagnosis, treatment planning, and monitoring of diseases. The anatomic pathology laboratory provides a wide variety of diagnostic services by experienced, board-certified faculty and technical staff. It also offers a full range of expert consultative services. This includes surgical pathology in all areas, from small biopsies to large resection specimens.

Furthermore, we provide a cytology service for gynecology specimens (PAP) and non-gynecology specimens (urine, sputum, body fluids, etc.). We also cover frozen sections for all disciplines seven days a week. Our staff participates in interdepartmental tumor boards by helping to provide information that is essential for patient care. All pathology reports are available in both English and Mandarin.

UFH Laboratories in the hospitals also have their own on-site blood banks for urgent needs. We work closely with local blood centers to organize community blood drives to make sure that we have adequate blood supply. We also keep a rare-blood-type donor list for emergency situations. Working closely with local blood centers and organizing special blood drives means we can collect rare types of blood needed by our patients. This ensures that our patients receive safe medical or surgical treatment.

Results show excellence

In addition to having government compliance with all routine laboratory quality indicators, other activities that are not specifically part of quality improvement show the invaluable nature of the UFH labs.

  • In recent years there have been more than a thousand people participating in UFH blood drive activities, 10% of whom were Rh negative donors, which is very important especially for our expatriate community.

  • Antibiograms are made twice a year for each different UFH facility, and communicated to clinicians, allowing for empirical antibiotic use to be modified appropriately as changes are noted in resistance rates.

  • Direct clinical involvement. While there are many examples of exceptional work from the labs, one case clearly demonstrates the advantages of the close working relationships both within the laboratories, and between lab and clinicians.

An elderly male American traveler came to a UFH hospital with what initially appeared to be a community acquired pneumonia. Tests revealed he was positive for Mycoplasma pneumonia, and he was treated accordingly. However, he did not improve, and a few days later, when the lab noticed that there was an unexpected change in some of his blood tests results, they proactively performed additional testing, and found that the patient also had Babesiosis. This is relatively common on the East coast of the USA (though very rare in China). Because of the lab’s proactive response, this patient was diagnosed quickly, and was able to get appropriate treatment.

How do our patients benefit

Patient safety

Put most simply, the UFH laboratories aim to ensure that there is the right results for the right patient, at the right time, every time.This is achieved by having international standard equipment and training, rigorous quality control, close working relationships across all laboratory disciplines, and proactive involvement in clinical teams (including lab staff attending clinical rounds, where appropriate).

Patient and doctor satisfaction

Timely results assist in timely treatment, improving the quality of care for the patient, and minimizing inefficiency for the treating physician. Online results are available to the doctor immediately after they are verified by the lab. Some results are also available directly to patients via the online Patient Portal. Bilingual reports (English and Chinese), based on international standards, mean that patients travelling/being transferred outside of China have confidence that the lab results are easily understandable by the receiving physician.

Continuity of care

Because of the cross-departmental collaboration between all the UFH labs, if patients are travelling within China, test information can be accessed by any UFH site, and important test information can be passed on between labs if needed, ensuring a clear continuity of care. At UFH Laboratories, every member of this institution is like a family member working hand in hand to promote the welfare of our community as we all have the same goal of serving our patients with passion and compassion. All laboratory staff uphold proper work ethics as well as a high degree of proficiency and current training on the advances in laboratory technology and knowledge. After all, it is everybody’s right to receive nothing but the best possible health care and we at UFH Laboratories are committed to meeting that goal.