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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

Survey Reveals US Consumers Choosing PCPs Based on Access to Telehealth Services; Clinical Laboratories Can Capitalize on This Trend

Sixty-seven percent of surveyed consumers age 45-64 would use telehealth for chronic care management; 79% say video telehealth services would be beneficial in coordinating and administering care of ill and aging relatives

According to a newly released survey, there is a growing interest in telehealth services among healthcare consumers in the US. It’s safe to assume that millennials and “X’ers” are driving this trend. But what does it mean for clinical laboratories?

If certain patients are selecting practices based on digital access to their primary care doctors and medical information, isn’t it also likely those patients also will want similar digital access to their medical laboratory in several dimensions? For example, to: continue reading

Could McKesson Settlement Set a Precedent That Would Require Clinical Laboratories to Track Physician Test Ordering?

McKesson agreed to pay a $150 million settlement for not reporting suspicious opioid orders and this case establishes a precedent that could ensnare other providers

In today’s world of the Internet-of-Things, it is becoming easier to collect data on every purchase made by individuals and companies. That ability to track the actions of consumers and commercial business has not escaped the notice of law enforcement and regulatory authorities. For example, at some future point, it could be that regulators would want to access data held by clinical laboratories on the test ordering patterns of their client physicians.

A recent ruling by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in a case involving McKesson Corp. (NYSE:MCK), may set a precedent that could eventually be cause for concern for medical laboratories that work with physicians who may be ordering more tests than are considered medically necessary under current regulations.

McKesson is a retail distributor of pharmaceuticals, and provider of health information and care management technologies and medical supplies. In a settlement with the DOJ, McKesson agreed to pay a record $150 million in civil penalties, as well as a staggered suspension of sales of controlled substances for a period of time from distribution centers in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). continue reading

Why Some Consumers Love the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Coverage and Some Consumers Hate It

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers need to understand the reasons why different consumers have entirely different financial experiences with the health insurance obtained under the ACA

One of the interesting consequences of the Affordable Care Act is that there are different classes of consumers who have completely different experiences with the health insurance coverage obtained through the ACA’s health insurance exchanges. It is important for pathologists as well as clinical laboratory managers to understand this fascinating outcome from the Affordable Care Act.

On one end of the spectrum are consumers who—because their income is at or just above the poverty line—get ACA health insurance coverage with full or nearly all of the premium subsidized be the federal government. They are the happiest with the law. That is, until they need to pay deductibles of as much as $5,000 per year for individuals and $10,000 per year for a family.

At the other end of the spectrum are the consumers with incomes at or above the 400% of the poverty level. Because these individuals get little or no federal premium subsidy, they are stuck paying the full price of their health insurance coverage. It is this group that is most unhappy with the ACA. And, not only are they paying hefty monthly premiums for coverage, they are also stuck with the $5,000 and $10,000 annual deductible requirements. continue reading

Consumerism among Healthcare Patients with High-Deductibles Has Not Yet Altered How Most Hospitals and Healthcare Systems Operate

New study shows most hospitals now recognize that patients are becoming more cost-conscious and customer-service driven due to the high cost of healthcare, but few have strategies in place to attract a more-engaged consumer

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are forcing consumers to be more cost-conscious when making healthcare decisions. This trend toward consumerism could be beneficial for clinical laboratories and pathology groups, whose patients would have multiple choices in where to purchase medical laboratory testing services and are looking for labs with good quality and competitive prices.

Greater numbers of patients must pay more out-of-pocket for their healthcare, but are also gaining access to increasing amounts of information about doctors and hospitals. As this happens, patients are “demanding straightforward information on prices, proof of value, and excellent customer service,” according to an article in Trustee, a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

However, hospitals have been slow to react to this new interest by patients in transparency in prices and quality by developing a consumer strategy. That’s according to the “2016 State of Consumerism in Healthcare” report prepared by consulting firms Kaufman Hall and Cadent Consulting Group. continue reading

Community Paramedicine Brings Emergency Care into Patients’ Homes, Could Increase Clinical Laboratory Specimens Collected In These Settings

Pathologists and clinical laboratories should be watching for the arrival of community paramedicine programs in their communities

Studies reveal that a sizeable proportion of 911 medical emergency calls result in an ambulance ride and emergency room visit for a medical condition that is relatively simple and not truly urgent. Recognizing this fact, some innovative health systems are creating a mobile “emergency room” service that can go to the patient’s home, provide appropriate care, and save the time and costs of the ambulance transport and emergency room (ER) visit.

This care model is being called “community paramedicine.” Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers should see this as a new example of how the traditional provision of healthcare services is being rethought. The goal is to combine modern workflow redesign techniques with new information technologies (IT) and medical laboratory tests to improve patient care while eliminating unnecessary cost.

The concept of bringing the ER to the patient’s home is consistent with the US medical industry’s shift toward offsite healthcare, which can include telehealth, to accommodate the growing population of geriatric, house-bound, and remote location patients. That is why programs are being created that allow patients to receive ER care in the comfort of their own homes. continue reading

Daily E-Briefings

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.

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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.

Professional Services

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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