If you are experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms, call us at 503-814-0099 before visiting any of our locations. Learn more.
Cropped image of the MLO magazine cover featuring Salem Health lab staff.

Salem Health Laboratories named Lab of the Year 2024

Apr 16, 2024

Lab recognized with national award for sustained excellence

(Salem, Ore. – April 16, 2024) – Salem Health Laboratories has been named Lab of the Year 2024 by Medical Laboratory Observer (MLO) magazine — an industry journal for lab professionals since 1969 — earning this distinguished honor for commitment to continuous and sustained improvement.

“Staff constantly work to increase efficiency, which improves patient care,” said Karl Kamper, System Director, Clinical Support Operations, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics.

“This recognition speaks to the work and dedication of our incredible team,” said Jamie Rouse, Director of Lab Services, Salem Health Laboratories, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics. “It truly takes a team effort to realize our vision of delivering an exceptional experience every time.”

Salem Health Laboratories employs 226 people and handles 1.6 million test requests at its three high-complexity laboratories; the laboratories also support and oversee all point-of-care testing across Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics.

Kamper is quick to credit Salem Health’s lean culture, an organizational philosophy and practice which is centered on the customer and their needs, finding value and looking for better ways to provide it. The laboratory staff believe that if they have good processes and well-designed systems, they will consistently achieve high-quality outcomes.

Labs across the country were judged on achievement in five areas: customer service, productivity, teamwork, education and training, and strategic outlook.

Examples of improvement and excellence which led to this top honor include improving timing and availability of blood products at the time of infusion patient appointments to 100 percent of the time. Another project improved on-time completion of morning rounds specimen collection by better predicting the resources needed. This improvement accelerated patient discharges from the hospital by having lab results ready for physician review before seeing the patient.

In addition to contributing to the quality of patient care, improvements also saved money. All staff quality projects combined saved Salem Health Laboratories more than $4 million last year.

Education and training are areas which set Salem Health Laboratories apart in its promoting career growth and building stronger teams. In 2023, 82 percent of the laboratory’s leadership positions were filled with internal candidates. Last year, Salem Health Laboratories launched an internal development pathway for all its employees.

“We are an example that culture combined with strategy can propel an organization to excellence,” said Kamper. “When that happens, our community wins. Our work has a direct impact on everyone – from patients and families to clinicians.” 

MLO magazine cover featuring Salem Health lab staff and 2024 lab of the year.

Medical Laboratory Observer’s April 2024 cover pictures some of the Salem Health Laboratories team, and the issue features the full article about the award, “Salem Health Laboratories at Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics – Continuous and sustained commitment to excellence.”

Salem Health Foundation