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Amid coronavirus pandemic, Atlantic Health System names clinical lab scientist Lisa McFarlane to lead testing, lab services

July 13, 2020

Dr. Elsa Thomas

July 13, 2020 – Morristown, NJ – As the importance of testing continues to grow in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantic Health System, a leading provider of health care in New Jersey, has named board-certified clinical laboratory scientist Lisa McFarlane, PhD, MLS, as its new director of laboratory services.

Dr. McFarlane takes the reins of Atlantic Health System’s laboratory services, which serves the organization’s seven hospitals, multiple ancillary sites, and physician network of nearly 1,000 providers, all linked by a team of laboratory couriers, as well as phlebotomists who provide outreach services. The laboratory services include the Atlantic Consolidated Laboratory which provides a robust array of services, processing more than 16,000 tests each day for a variety of conditions.

Dr. McFarlane is a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology and comes to Atlantic Health System with 15 years of experience in both pathology and laboratory operations, most recently from Hackensack University Medical Center, where she served as the technical and operations director of the laboratory. Dr. McFarlane received her bachelor and master’s degrees in biomedical science from London Metropolitan University and her doctorate in biomedical science from the UWE, Bristol in the United Kingdom.

“Atlantic Health System has demonstrated a true understanding of how laboratory science supports a health system’s ability to provide exceptional care,” said Dr. McFarlane. “I’m proud and humbled for the opportunity to lead these services at such a historic and crucial time.”

From the earliest days of the emergence of COVID-19 in New Jersey, and throughout the rise of the worldwide pandemic, Atlantic Health System recognized the importance of testing as a way to identify, isolate and treat infected patients, while keeping other patients as well as Atlantic Health team members safe.

“Now more than ever, testing has become the lynchpin in the strategy to combating disease,” said Amy Perry, CEO, hospital division, senior vice president, integrated care delivery. “We are extremely glad to have a leader with Dr. McFarlane’s acumen in pathology and laboratory science overseeing our lab services as we work to move forward from the height of COVID-19.”

As soon as state and federal officials approved testing to be conducted by health care providers, Atlantic Health System immediately implemented rapidly-evolving testing and processing technologies and practices.
“In a matter of a few months, we’ve gone from having limited tests to having a range of options for testing and processing,” said Lauren Yedvab, chief operating officer for Overlook Medical Center, to whom Dr. McFarlane will report. “As each new iteration came available, our team vetted and implemented the resources that could most quickly and accurately tell us whether a patient had COVID-19, and we continue to look for ways to enhance our abilities.”

By the first week of June, Atlantic Health System had ordered more than 32,000 tests, with a daily demand of between 500-1,000 tests per day, which were processed by both the Atlantic Consolidated Laboratory, as well as two reference laboratories contracted by Atlantic Health.

These efforts greatly aided Atlantic Health System’s efforts to expand access to testing, including the opening of a drive-through testing structure at its corporate site in Morris Township for health care workers, first responders and their immediate family members, one of the first of its kind in New Jersey. The health system also supported testing sites opened by authorities in several local counties.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System has a long-standing tradition of providing exceptional patient outcomes and experiences. Home to seven award-winning hospitals including Morristown Medical Center, the number one hospital in NJ according to U.S. News & World Report, Castle Connolly and Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals, the system has been ranked first in New Jersey in consumer preference by Monigle and first among health systems in New Jersey as a “best workplace” by both Modern Healthcare and Fortune Magazine.

Many of the system’s programs have received national accolades and designations, including Morristown Medical Center’s Cardiology and Heart Surgery program ranked among the top 30 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report; Morristown Medical Center’s Orthopedics program ranked among the top 35 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and Atlantic Health System’s Cancer Care program, New Jersey’s first and only National Cancer Institute National Community Oncology Research Program. Additionally, Atlantic Health System Neuroscience at Overlook Medical Center, working with Atlantic Mobile Health, was the first in the nation to deploy and use portable Telestroke technology in ambulances for routine pre-hospital assessment of stroke patients.

Powered by a passionate workforce of 17,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey, including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The system provides care for the full continuum of health needs across a wide array of settings, including Atlantic Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey with more than 1,000 physicians and providers, 12 urgent care centers, Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, Atlantic Visiting Nurse and Atlantic Anywhere’s Virtual Visits. Facilitating connections between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.

With a clear sense of purpose and an unparalleled culture, Atlantic Health System attracts top leaders in the field of health care, from CEO Brian Gragnolati, who was Chairman of the American Hospital Association in 2019, to the numerous team members who serve as leaders across national clinical associations and research entities.