Sunday, April 14, 2024

Outpatient Laboratory is 'outside' Logan Health – Whitefish

by Riley Polumbus
| April 3, 2024 12:00 AM

Blood tests offer a snapshot of what is going on in the body, providing diagnoses, monitoring health conditions and checking overall health. As such a powerful tool, it’s no wonder blood tests are often ordered by primary care providers as part of annual wellness exams.

At Logan Health – Whitefish, a team of laboratory scientists stay busy behind the scenes processing these tests for the community, while phlebotomists draw blood from adults and children, preparing the samples for testing. These medical professionals specialize in putting patients at ease and prioritizing their comfort.

The one-person space for drawing blood from patients and its small waiting area inside the hospital was often full and pressed with increasing demand. To provide a better patient experience, the phlebotomists looked for a creative solution that would provide patients more space and comfort when they came in for a blood draw. 

The Cornerstone building, located at 3004 Hospital Way in the Medical Village south of the hospital, has served many purposes, from housing a behavioral health clinic to hosting meeting space and temporary offices. During the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital’s laboratory team established a COVID-19 testing center there. It was convenient to provide testing outside the hospital setting, while being close in proximity to the lab. This location also provides ample space for parking, a waiting area and more space for testing. 

“The number one reason we decided to move our outpatient draws to the Cornerstone was into increase patient comfort,” said Beth Ballard, director of the laboratory at Logan Health – Whitefish. “Now patients needing a routine blood test can get in and out more quickly in a comfortable setting.”

The outpatient laboratory is fully staffed, offering lab draws in addition to the area in the hospital. The auxiliary space has led to faster turn-around-times for inpatient lab tests and increased support for nursing staff to complete other duties related to patient care in the hospital.

The new site also allows for walk-in services. All outpatients must have a signed order by a physician, or an electronic order placed by a Logan Health physician. The most common tests collected by the outpatient laboratory are annual wellness tests, such as blood counts (CBC) and comprehensive metabolic panels (CMP), as well as cholesterol and thyroid tests. They also collect for urinalysis tests.

People needing imaging or infusion services in addition to their lab test should still report to the hospital for the convenience, along with children under the age of five.  

Patients and providers can also drop off samples at the outpatient laboratory for processing.

The Logan Health – Whitefish outpatient laboratory at the Cornerstone is open 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. They can be reached at (406) 862-1754 or by fax at (406) 863-3677.