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.
New Medical Laboratory Test from Washington University School of Medicine Could One Day Replace the Popular PCR Assays Used by Many Pathologists
Called ‘ViroCap,’ this new diagnostic technology is able to discover more viruses in patient samples, as compared to PCR genome sequencing tests
It could be the ultimate multi-analysis medical laboratory test ever. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a diagnostic test that they claim tests for any virus infecting people and animals.
Viruses Make for a Popular Research Subject
Are virus tests going, well, viral? It was just a few weeks ago that Dark Daily reported on research at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) aimed at unlocking virus detection beyond one pathogen at a time. (See Dark Daily, “Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Develop Blood Test That Reveals a Patient’s Viral History; Could Reduce Unnecessary Clinical Laboratory Testing,” December, 30, 2015.)
The HHMI research resulted in VirScan, an alternative to medical laboratory tests that test for specific viruses one at a time, and which can detect all diseases a patient has had over his or her lifetime, according to an HHMI news statement about the new technology. continue reading
More Companies Pay for Employees to Have Genetic Tests in a Trend That Brings More Lab Test Volume to Medical Laboratories
As tests explore genetic markers related to excessive weight gain, and breast and ovarian cancer, companies as well as employees are seeing returns on investment and participation
In a development that is auspicious for medical laboratories, more genetic tests are making their way into more corporate health benefit plans. Big brands—from Aetna to Visa—are partnering with personalized health companies and clinical lab companies doing genetic testing as they support tests to help employees head-off health risks.
Employers’ sponsorship of genetic testing is a trend that could become more common, noted Fortune. But human resources and benefits experts say the offerings are still uncommon. There are also unresolved issues, such as when genetic test results are inconclusive or questionable.
For medical laboratories, the companies’ genetic testing benefits could prompt more test orders from healthcare consumers. Based on the results of their genetic tests, people might decide to make lifestyle changes, work toward prevention of chronic conditions, and take further tests to assess progress. continue reading
CMS Begins the New Year by Instituting Fines for Insurance Payers That Issue Error-Filled Provider Directories
Increased accuracy in listings should benefit in-network medical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups
Regional and smaller medical laboratories will welcome a new enforcement initiative by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Health insurers now will face fines as high as $25,000 per beneficiary as a sanction from regulators in many states for errors in provider directories that can result in patients receiving surprise out-of-network bills.
As the number of consumers with high-deductible health plans has grown, the demand for more price transparency by physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers has increased, with states such as New Hampshire and Colorado legislating public price transparency websites.
Now the federal government is taking another step toward increased transparency in healthcare by fining payers whose provider directories are not current and include inaccurate listings that may cause consumers to unknowingly select out-of-network providers. This is especially important as insurance providers continue to narrow their provider networks. Increased accuracy in provider directories should help clinical laboratories and pathology groups that participate in insurance networks. continue reading
Pigeons as Anatomic Pathologists? Researchers at University of Iowa and UC Davis Train Pigeons to Identify Cancerous Cells from Healthy Cells in Human Breast Tissue
Studies at the two universities produced intriguing insights into the ability of pigeons to discriminate between benign and malignant breast cancer slides at all magnifications
Researchers at the University of Iowa and the University of California Davis (UC Davis) are reporting intriguing results from a study indicating that pigeons have the potential to be “proficient pathologists” when it comes to telling the difference between healthy and cancerous cells in human breast tissue.
With minimal training and food reinforcement, the common pigeon or rock dove, performed as well as humans at identifying and classifying (AKA, pigeonholing) digitized slides and mammograms of benign and malignant human breast tissue, stated the researchers. continue reading
Hospitals in New York State and throughout the United States Are Advertising to Attract the Growing Number of Medical Tourists from Canada
Syracuse, New York, aims to position itself as the healthcare destination of choice for Ontarians right across the border who are weary of waiting for free healthcare from their provincial health service
There is a new twist in medical tourism! United States hospitals are advertising to Canadians who are frustrated by increasingly long waiting times for elective medical procedures from their national health service. U.S. providers are hoping to lure them across the border for quicker access to care.
Until recently, U.S. hospitals were not motivated to attract Canadian patients as a way to generate new admissions. However, years of sustained cuts to prices paid to U.S. hospitals by health insurers have made it economically attractive for U.S. hospitals to advertise to Canadian patients just across the border. The medical laboratories of American hospitals serving medical tourists benefit from this source of patients.
Number of Canadians Coming to U.S. for Medical Care Each Year Growing
While Canadians get most of their medical care for free through a nationwide, single-payer system administered by each province, thousands of Canadians come to the U.S. each year seeking medical care. In 2014, an estimated 52,513 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada. The largest number of patients leaving the country for healthcare are from the Province of Ontario and total 26,252, according to the Fraser Institute, a Canadian research organization. The number of Canadians seeking medical care outside the country’s borders was up 26% from a year earlier, the study showed. continue reading
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