Medical laboratories and pathology groups can participate in national survey about changes in average revenue-per-requisition and average number of tests-per-requisition

Across the country, a number of clinical laboratory organizations have privately told The Dark Report editorial team that they have experienced a decline in the average number of lab tests-per-requisition over the past 18 months. Since the sample size is so small, it would be inappropriate to conclude that the experience of these labs reflects a national trend.

At the same time, even though this data is anecdotal and from a handful of lab organizations, it could be an early sign of an important shift in lab test utilization by clinicians. In recent years, employers, private payers, and the Medicare/Medicaid programs have initiated a variety of initiatives that have the common goal of encouraging physicians to more wisely utilize medical laboratory tests.

Anecdotal Evidence May Indicate Wider Shift in Clinical Lab Test Utilization

That is why these anecdotal reports of a decline in the average number of tests-per-requisition at a handful of prominent laboratory organizations are worthy of attention. At some point, the various carrots and sticks directed at physicians by payers and employers can be expected to trigger changes in how clinical laboratory tests are ordered. At some point, these efforts to change physician’s lab test ordering patterns could have significant clinical and financial consequences for the nation’s clinical lab companies and hospital laboratory outreach programs.

To better understand this emerging dynamic, a national survey of clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups is taking place. The goal of the survey is to better understand how lab test utilization patterns may be changing—particularly regarding the average number of tests- per-requisition (per patient) and the average revenue-per-requisition.

This important survey is being conducted by Financial Analyst Amanda Murphy of William Blair & Co, LLC, and Dark Daily. To participate in this short survey, simply click on this link (or copy and paste this URL in your web browser:

William Blair & Company is a global investment banking and asset management firm.

William Blair & Company is a global investment banking and asset management firm.

Last month, at the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management, financial analysts from Blair & Company were on site and conducting round one of this survey on lab test utilization trends. As many as 40 lab managers answered the individual questions. Some notable findings of this rather small sample will be interesting to Dark Daily readers:

  • 30.7% of respondents said that their laboratory organization had experienced a decline in the average number of lab tests-per-requisition since 2010.
  • 27.5% of respondents stated that their laboratory organization would see a decline in their annual specimen volume growth between 2012 and 2014. (Another 27.5% said that their lab’s volume growth would be less than 5% between 2012 and 2014.)
  • 40.5% of respondents said that, when a hospital acquires a physician practice, they see 75% to 100% of those lab test specimens shift to the laboratory of the acquiring hospital.

It would be a serious development for the clinical lab testing industry if enough office-based physicians were responding to clinical guidelines and economic incentives in such a way that they are ordering fewer medical lab tests per patient. That is because the financial stability of most clinical labs is greatly affected by relatively small shifts in both the number of tests performed and the average revenue-per-test.

As a financial analyst, Amanda Murphy has been studying the clinical laboratory and pathology testing industry looking to spot emerging trends and to understand how these trends will affect the financial fortunes of medical laboratory companies. Last year, Murphy and Dark Daily collaborated on a survey of in-office pathology arrangements. The findings of this survey were published by The Dark Report in the November 28, 2011 issue. (See “Anatomic Pathology Insourcing by Office-Based Physicians Expected to Be Ongoing.”)

Lab Managers and Pathologists Invited to Take On-Line Survey

William Blair & Company and Dark Daily invite clinical laboratory managers and pathologists to participate in a short survey regarding changes their laboratory organizations may be seeing on average number of tests-per requisition and average revenue per requisition. As a contributor to this survey, you will receive a report of its findings.

To take the survey, visit this link.

Alternatively, you can copy this link and paste it in your web browser:

—Robert L. Michel

Related Information:

To take survey on changes in the number of lab tests-per-requisition, use this link.

Survey Set to Measure Impact of Trend by Urologists and GIs to Create Their Own In-Office Anatomic Pathology Laboratories.