Last Monday and Tuesday, many of Canada’s most progressive laboratory administrators and pathologists gathered to attend Executive Edge in the beautiful Canadian city of Toronto. Executive Edge is a Canadian version of The Dark Report’s famous Executive War College (EWC). Like the EWC, Executive Edge produced some remarkable stories of innovation and creativity in laboratory management.

Executive Edge is produced by The Dark Report and QSE Consulting of Ontario, Canada. This is Executive Edge’s second year and it is helping to identify laboratory management best practices that can be used by almost any laboratory in any country. Laboratory medicine is a dynamic specialty in Canada and laboratories in that country are under sustained pressure to evolve, to adopt, and to survive.

Lab leaders in the United States will not be surprised to learn that our counterparts to the north are plagued by the same basic pressures. Funding for laboratory services is inadequate. At the same time, patient demand clinician utilization of laboratory testing increases annually, often at near double-digit rates. It also goes without saying that the supply of medical technologists, Ph.D.s, and pathologists is inadequate-and will increase rapidly as those baby boomers now working in laboratories take their retirement.

What may surprise many lab managers and pathologists in the United States is how laboratory organizations across Canada are responding with innovative management strategies. Because each province runs its own healthcare system-and has its own unique challenges-there is an opportunity for pathologists and lab directors to experiment with new lab organizational models.

Over the next few weeks, Dark Daily will share some of the more interesting and relevant innovations with you. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Canadian laboratories were far ahead of U.S. labs in creating regional lab networks and undertaking radical lab consolidation projects. Already in this decade, some Canadian lab organizations are breaking new ground in their attempts to make shrinking lab budgets go farther and do more for their clinicians. Upcoming Dark Daily briefings will share these innovations, along with some of the secrets that made them successful.