DARK Daily Laboratory and Pathology NewsDARK Daily is an e-briefing service providing up-to-the minute news of relevance for anyone working in diagnostic medicine, from clinical laboratories and pathology groups to lab industry suppliers and diagnostic technology companies. DARK Daily is part of The Dark Intelligence Group, Inc. and is dedicated to bringing useful business and management intelligence to laboratory managers, pathologists and diagnostic executives. Our recognized expertise in the strategic direction of laboratory medicine and the management of laboratories is available through DARK Daily, The Dark Report, free White Papers, Lab Resource Directory, the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management, Lab Quality Confab, and strategic consulting services.
Possible Bad News for Clinical Pathology Laboratories Should Double-digit Rate Increases Happen in 2016 and 2017 to Healthcare Exchange Premiums
Were health insurers to experience tough financial pressures, clinical laboratories and pathology groups could see a scale-back in medical lab test payments for 2016 and 2017
Will health insurance premiums skyrocket in 2016 for health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act? That’s a tough question to answer, given that projected increases are substantial in some states and moderate in other states.
The answer to this question is an important one for clinical laboratory executives and pathologists. If health insurers pay out more in claims than they receive in premiums, they generally try to balance the books by paying providers less. That includes medical laboratories.
There is credible evidence that premiums in some states may increase dramatically for 2016. Even as the Obama administration pressures states to keep rates from rising too fast, many insurers are struggling to remain financially viable after discovering that those enrolling in the Obamacare marketplace continue to be less healthy than anticipated.
One consequence from health insurers that face mounting financial pressures is that they could be inclined to exclude higher-priced clinical laboratories and pathology groups from their networks. Also, as noted earlier, they could reduce the amount they reimburse for lab tests. continue reading
Medical Laboratories in Canada Face Squeeze from a Retiring Labor Force, the Need to Acquire New Diagnostic Technologies, and Increased Demand for Lab Tests
In provinces across Canada, health systems are dealing with limited budgets, growing populations, and the need to transition to personalized medicine
Medical laboratories in Canada have something in common with medical laboratories in most other developed nations. Demand for healthcare services exceeds capacity, even as the healthcare system struggles to find adequate funding. This puts pathology labs in a bind, since they are asked to test growing numbers of specimens even as budgets are flat or shrinking.
That means the biggest two challenges facing labs in Canada will be familiar to pathologists, clinical chemists and medical laboratory scientists in almost every other developed nation across the globe. One challenge is how to meet the steady annual increase in lab specimens that must be tested. The second challenge is how to do that additional testing even as government health systems are forced to trim budgets year after year. continue reading
Emulating Uber and Lyft, New Phlebotomy Company Wants to Bring Innovation to the Way Clinical Pathology Laboratory Specimens Are Collected and Transported
In just eight months, Iggbo claims to have 4,000 phlebotomists participating and is now operating in 18 states
Even as Uber and Lyft are bringing a new business model to the taxicab business, a group of entrepreneurs in Virginia want to do the same thing to the phlebotomy services offered by clinical laboratories. Since launching this service in January, the new phlebotomy company operates in 18 states.
The company is called Iggbo. It describes itself as an on-demand anytime/anywhere blood draw service and hopes to streamline the way blood samples move from patients to medical laboratories as the start-up looks to revolutionize phlebotomy the way Uber disrupted taxi service.
Based in Richmond, VA, Iggbo is introducing the sharing economy to the laboratory test collection process, a move that could benefit independent clinical laboratories and pathology groups that join Iggbo’s growing network of labs and independent phlebotomists. continue reading
Clinical Pathology Laboratories Stand to Benefit as Patients Gain Control Over Their Healthcare Spending Through High-Deductible Health Plans
Smaller clinical laboratories and pathology groups should benefit from shift toward consumer-driven healthcare
High-deductible health plans (HDHP) are increasing in popularity as more consumers opt for lower annual premium costs in exchange for larger out-of-pocket expenses. This shift in health insurance could result in direct benefits for smaller clinical laboratories and pathology groups as more patients have a choice in where they purchase medical laboratory testing services.
From a policy perspective, employers and healthcare strategists hope that using HDHPs to engage consumers will help put market forces back into medicine. Because clinical laboratories and pathology groups increasingly find themselves excluded from provider networks, and fighting to keep access to patients, they should welcome the trend to consumer-driven healthcare.
A logical response to the HDHP trend would be for labs to begin posting their lab test prices on their websites. It would be equally useful to also post quality-performance and customer-satisfaction survey results to allow consumers to make informed choices about the labs they want performing their tests. continue reading
NIST’s New Standard Genetic Reference Specimen Promises to Increase Accuracy of Clinical Pathology Laboratories Using Next-Generation Sequencing Technology
Sequencing this new DNA standard reference material enables medical laboratories to verify if their DNA test results are accurate
To reduce the variability in genetic test results that has been observed across different clinical laboratories and pathology groups, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has introduced a new standard DNA reference. This is another step forward to improve transparency in the quality and accuracy of genetic test results produced by medical laboratories in the United States and abroad.
Even as scientists continue to identify genetic mutations that could cause various cancers and other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrous, studies have demonstrated that DNA test results from the same specimen can vary depending on which medical laboratory performs the whole-genome sequencing analysis. This is partly due to variances in the technology, chemicals and processes used for the testing. Therefore, ensuring consistently reliable test results has been difficult, which could lead to inaccurate or missed diagnoses.
That is why a new standard DNA reference material developed by the National Institute for Standards and Technology has the potential to help DNA sequencing facilities to verify if their DNA test results are accurate. The new reference material, NIST RM 8398, was designed to improve the accuracy of diagnostic laboratories that analyze DNA using “next-generation sequencing” (NGS) technology. continue reading
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