At the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco, California last Saturday, an intriguing line-up of lab industry experts delivered presentations that contained some highly useful information. This Dark Daily briefing will concentrate on several comments made by Rodney W. Forsman. He is the Administrative Director of Outcomes at Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML) and Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

The event was the sixth annual Spring Fling conference, produced by the Golden Gate Chapter of the CLMA (Clinical Laboratory Management Association). The keynote speaker was our own Dark Daily Editor, Robert L. Michel. In attendance was an enthusiastic crowd of laboratory professionals from across Northern California, along with a large number of lab industry exhibitors.

Forsman was speaking on the subject of how community laboratories—particularly hospital laboratories with outreach programs—could play an important role in supporting integration of clinical services within a region. Forsman discussed the leverage that laboratory testing offers clinicians. After mentioning the oft-discussed fact that lab testing costs are about 5¢ on the healthcare dollar and play a role in as much as 70% of all clinical decisions, he provided two insights about the use of laboratory test data at Mayo Clinic which should be of interest to Dark Daily readers.

First, he provided a statistic about the role of laboratory testing inside the Mayo Clinic. Forsman explained that the Mayo Clinic’s EMR (electronic medical record) system has operated since 1995. Laboratory test data comprises 94% of the “objective data” within Mayo’s EMR system. This is a proportion which exceeds the widely-noted statement that laboratory test data makes up 70% to 80% of the typical patient’s permanent health record.

Second, Forsman provided another fact about Mayo to reinforce his point about the essential role that laboratory test data plays within the clinical continuum. At the Mayo Clinic each day, 60,000 laboratory test results are added to the Mayo EMR. This lab test data is in high demand, as Mayo tracks, on average, 200,000 daily retrievals of lab test data from the system by caregivers within the Mayo Clinic.

Forsman’s major point in his remarks was to emphasize how clinical laboratories could improve the value they offer their parent hospitals, referring physicians, and the patients they serve in their local community. He stressed the importance of using financial tools and close management of laboratory resources to accomplish these goals.

In our next Dark Daily, we will highlight insights about molecular diagnostics shared by another nationally-recognized speaker at the CLMA Golden Gate Chapter’s Spring Fling.