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DARK Daily Laboratory and Pathology News

DARK 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.

Latest E-Briefings

McKinsey Study Confirms Trend Toward Narrow Healthcare Networks on Health Insurance Exchanges; Smaller Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Often Excluded

Ongoing shift to narrow provider networks excludes many medical laboratories, thus causing them to lose access to patients served by these networks

If there is any single trend that has worked against the clinical and financial interests of community clinical laboratories and hospital/health system lab outreach programs, it is the trend of narrow networks. When medical laboratories and other providers find themselves excluded from a payer’s provider network, they lose access to the patients served by that network.

Thus, it won’t be good news that a major consulting company has confirmed that the trend of narrow payer networks is intensifying. The study was conducted by healthcare consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

McKinsey concluded that insurers participating in the government’s Healthcare Exchanges continue to move toward narrow networks of healthcare providers. This trend often leaves smaller clinical laboratories, hospital lab outreach programs, and anatomic pathology groups on the sidelines as insurers attempt to reduce costs. continue reading

Few Medical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Pursue Big Cost Savings by Identifying and Fixing the Recurring Cost of Bad Quality in Their Labs

Concepts of ‘recurring cost of bad quality’ and systemic failures are still new in clinical laboratory management, yet offer the potential for substantial savings to lab managers who learn these techniques and tools

Today, most clinical laboratories and pathology groups feel the financial squeeze from shrinking budgets and decreasing prices for lab tests. This is a big reason why cutting costs is a primary goal for nearly every medical laboratory in the United States.

In their cost-cutting efforts, labs quickly pursue the low-hanging fruit of reducing staff overtime and using Lean and Six Sigma to identify obvious sources of unnecessary costs. But there is a source of huge cost savings that goes unnoticed and unaddressed in all but a handful of the nation’s savviest clinical labs and pathology groups. It is the recurring cost of bad quality. continue reading

University of Texas Researchers Develop New Techniques in Genetic Testing to Improve Clinical Laboratory Results through RNA

Innovative technological advances could potentially provide clinical laboratories, pathology groups, and medical researchers with improved methodologies for designing, performing, and analyzing lab tests that use genetic information

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) have developed an innovative new enzyme that promises to improve the methods and tools used by pathology groups and clinical laboratories when conducting genetic testing.

The enzyme enables the reproduction of large quantities of Ribonucleic acid (RNA) to be accurately duplicated. It also can perform reverse transcription and scrutinize itself while copying genetic information, which will enable both researchers and clinical laboratories to improve the accuracy of gene sequencing where RNA is involved.

The team published their findings in Science, the academic journal of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and filed for a provisional patent for the new sequence of the discovered enzyme. continue reading

Pathologists and Clinical Laboratories to Play Critical Role in Developing New Tools to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Medical laboratories to become antimicrobial stewards in the fight against antibiotic resistance

At the start of 2017, new requirements for antimicrobial stewardship programs became effective for hospitals and other providers that must accredit to the standards of Medicare Conditions of Participation (COP) and The Joint Commission. Clinical laboratories serving hospitals are already engaged in efforts to improve the use of antibiotics in ways that slow the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of infectious agents.

Even as the nation’s hospitals embark on efforts to implement effective antimicrobial stewardship programs, researchers continue to seek solutions to the same problem. They are following several paths to combat the growing resistance certain pathogens have to antibiotics. In particular, two approaches are interesting for pathologists and medical laboratory personnel. One involves understanding the processes that lead to antibiotic resistance. The other is to identify useful biomarkers associated with specific strains of pathogens. continue reading

Nation’s Smaller Community Medical Laboratories Have Major Concerns about Financial Survival Once Medicare Officials Implement Deep Price Cuts to Lab Test Fees in 2018

In vitro diagnostic manufacturers and medical distributors share concerns, along with other types of medical labs in nation’s small cities and hinterlands that include rural hospital labs and physician office labs (POLs) because, along with financial erosion, there is the potential of reduced access by Medicare beneficiaries to clinical lab tests where they live

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Owners and managers of community and regional independent lab companies and community laboratories gathered here last week at a lab conference to assess what many believe is a bleak future. That’s because, in less than 11 months, medical laboratories across the United States will be dealing with unprecedented price cuts to the Medicare Part B clinical laboratory fee schedule (CLFS) and how those price cuts erode the financial stability of these essential labs, often the only local medical laboratory serving smaller communities and rural areas throughout the nation.

The number one financial threat of concern to these community and regional lab owners is how the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) rule for private-payer market-price reporting will be used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make fee cuts—effective on January 1, 2018—that will be financially devastating to the nation’s small and mid-sized community and regional labs, rural hospitals, some individual and group physician practices, and community hospitals—while causing increased market concentration that benefits the nation’s two dominant publicly-traded lab companies. continue reading

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DARK Daily

DARK Daily is a free e-briefing service that provides one short, easy-to-read news item every weekday, highlighting noteworthy developments in the clinical laboratory industry. First alerts to important news events, incisive assessment of best-practice breakthroughs, and strategic insights on important trends make these e-briefings timely and invaluable. Sign up for the DARK Daily today and receive the special report Trends In Clinical Pathology Laboratory Management free.

The Dark Report

Since its founding in 1995, The Dark Report has been the laboratory industry’s most reliable source for useful business intelligence and innovations in the management of clinical laboratories and pathology group practices. Widely-read and much discussed, The Dark Report is respected as a source of knowledge and information that allows lab administrators, pathologists, and industry executives to be first to learn about the latest facts and trends that affect medical laboratories of all kinds.

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Strategic Consulting

With a demonstrated track record of success, Robert Michel and the team at The Dark Intelligence Group, Inc. deliver strategic insight and market analysis that directly leads to increased revenues, improved profitability, and operational excellence. Having continuously worked with and visited laboratories, pathology groups, and lab industry vendors for more than 12 years, Robert Michel brings a unique set of skills and experience to any strategic challenge or opportunity.

Meeting Facilitation

Energize your next public meeting, strategic retreat, or corporate event. Widely-recognized and often asked back for a second and third year, Robert Michel has a recognized ability to help audiences get more from the speakers and advance their knowledge and understanding about key trends and management innovations. One- and two-day management retreats are a specialty.

Public Presentations

For a dynamic and knowledgeable public speaker to turbo-charge your next meeting, contact The Dark Intelligence Group. When it comes to management of clinical laboratories and pathology group practices, Robert Michel and his colleagues are consistently ranked among the industry’s keenest minds.

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