Data-driven proof supports decision-making that optimizes efficiency and boosts bottom lines in the face of shrinking margins and increased competition

Molecular and esoteric testing developers continue to make advanced assays and diagnostic technologies available to medical laboratories. However, some laboratory senior management and stakeholders may be reluctant to invest in them even though the market for such testing is poised for significant growth.

That’s because lab shareholders might view these tests/services as high-risk and it might not be immediately clear how—with proper implementation—these services have the potential to improve lab financials and provide higher-margin services to offset the shrinking margins of common high-volume tests.

That’s where analytics can help lab managers, who’ve been tasked with expanding their lab’s menu to include esoteric or molecular testing, justify the expansion of services or answer questions regarding the lab’s financial viability to do so.

Being able to answer those questions—such as whether to perform anatomic pathology, cytology, and other advanced testing in-house or outsource, particularly in terms that c-suite members, shareholders, and other lab decision makers will understand—is critical to managing expectations and ensuring successful installation of the new testing.

The approach Michigan-based Spectrum Health took to implement analytics in their decision-making chain may be instructive.

Spectrum’s experience—through a partnership with LTS Health based in Chicago, IL., and by making use of PinpointBPS, a laboratory performance management system—showcases how laboratories can leverage analytics to not only increase key lab metrics, but do so with minimal risk. All while generating data that will inform critical members of the decision-making chain.

Data Modelling as Tool for Laboratory Growth

Global Market Insights predicts an 8.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in molecular diagnostics alone between 2018 to 2024. Clinical laboratories that see automation and staffing as their primary means for increasing throughput, reducing turnaround times, and optimizing lab operations, will find Spectrum’s results useful.

Spectrum Health wanted to improve staff performance and morale while also insourcing specialist testing without adding to the cost base in their Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATLs). These labs include—molecular diagnostics, flow cytometry, and cytogenetics—and require a significant skilled staff investment. As such, Spectrum had questions about latent capacity and potential costs in relation to their ability to expand service offerings while maintaining optimal service levels.

They initially implemented PinpointBPS to reinforce the ideas under consideration:

  • Increasing automated results interfacing;
  • Expanding staff to cover new human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing capabilities;
  • Optimizing staff schedules to match typical order flows; and,
  • Implementation of automated liquid handlers.

Using analytics, the lab staff was able to both simulate the proposed changes and obtain quantitative data on how these changes would impact lab financials, staff efficiency, latent lab capacity, and other key metrics. They could accomplish all of this without making a single change to existing operations, staff levels, or lab technologies.

Using analytics and data modelling, Spectrum discovered that implementing a new staffing model would allow them to achieve several key objectives—including:

More importantly, they were able to do so without the significant hardware investment which they were previously considering.

“Analytics help to highlight areas of improvement through data comparisons and provide an empirical source of truth for determining the best course of action to reach laboratory goals and achieve sustainable, dependable results,” Kim Collison (above), Directory of Laboratory Services at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., told Dark Daily. “These systems also create a monitoring system to further iterate on or adjust improvements. This is accomplished while also gathering data ideal for presenting to the c-suite, shareholders, and other key members of the decision-making chain.” (Photo copyright: LTS Health.)

Much like modeling or visualization might help to display complex medical data to aid diagnosis, these systems can model and simulate data related to laboratory operations, integrate with laboratory information management systems (LIMS), and simulate ideas to create quantified data about a range of important aspects including:

  • Assessment of staffing needs;
  • Highlighting potential workflow bottlenecks;
  • Determining latent laboratory capacity; and,
  • Assessing the value of advanced technology laboratory investments.

“Everyone is vying for capital dollars,” Linda Flynn, Executive Consultant at LS Flynn and Associates told Dark Daily. “Good data collected and organized through data analytics can generate trust and understanding to help position your proposals to c-suite members for greater success.”

Opportunity to Gain Critical Knowledge for Your Clinical Laboratories

To help highlight how your laboratory might use BI analytics and laboratory performance management systems to mitigate risk and promote laboratory growth, Flynn, Collison, and Christoff Coetzee, Chief Consulting Officer of LTS Health, will co-present a 90-minute webinar, titled, “Boost Your Advanced Technology Laboratory’s Revenue Through the Effective Use of Data Analytics.”

The webinar will include essential information for clinical laboratories looking to increase certainty in the decision-making process using facts and data and provide a solid understanding for engagement in investment opportunities, c-suite members, and other senior management and decision makers.

Attendees will also learn from a case study on how Spectrum Health implemented PinpointBPS to develop an actionable, effective plan to improve their operations, reduce turnaround times, and improve the value of their laboratory operations based on facts and data generated within the lab.

Laboratory management, administrative directors, staff, and business and financial managers of laboratories will want to attend this webinar and the following Q/A session to obtain information on the impact BI analytics could hold for their laboratories and how to best implement these new systems for optimal results.

(To register for this critical March 27th webinar, click here. Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser:

—Jon Stone

Related Information:

Using Data Analytics to Optimize Your Investment in Advanced Technology Laboratories in the Hospital Setting

Data Analytics in the Lab Global Molecular Diagnostics Market Will Secure 8.4% Growth Till 2024