Following a nearly two-year disruption due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals once again have an opportunity to gather and learn from each other
It is good news that the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 continue declining here in the United States. That fact, and the growing number of vaccinations, have encouraged state and federal officials to lift many restrictions on business and social activities.
Clinical laboratories are watching a big drop in the daily number of COVID-19 tests they perform, even as routine test volumes climb and more patients show up in doctors’ offices for the typical mix of ailments and health conditions.
It’s true that many familiar routines are back. But it is also true that things are not exactly the way they were pre-pandemic. And that’s the rub. Going forward, what should medical laboratory managers and pathologists expect to be the “post-pandemic normal” in how patients access care and how providers deliver clinical services? How will healthcare in this country be different from what it was pre-pandemic?
Preparing Clinical Lab Leaders for What Comes Next
These questions and more will be front and center when the Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management returns on Nov. 2-3, 2021, at the Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The theme of this first live gathering since the spring of 2019 will be “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.”
“Today, lab managers have the interesting challenge of understanding the new opportunities they can use to advance their labs, both clinically and financially,” stated Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report, and founder of the Executive War College. “It isn’t that the pandemic changed healthcare in fundamental ways. Rather, it is that the pandemic accelerated changes that were underway before the outbreak began.
“That’s true of telehealth as well, for example,” he continued. “Once the nation was locked down, utilization of virtual physician visits and telehealth services skyrocketed. Today, national surveys confirm that as many as 50% of all patients and physicians have used a telehealth service, are comfortable with this type of appointment, and are ready to continue to use virtual office visits.
“Another trend accelerated by the pandemic is patient self-testing at home,” Michel added. “Government health officials saw the benefit of clearing for clinical use different specimen collection systems and COVID-19 test methods designed for use by consumers in the comfort of their home. Today, consumers can choose from multiple specimen collection products and SARS-CoV-2 tests designed for in-home use. Clinical laboratory managers should consider this development to be a consumer home-test baseline. Federal officials have created a regulatory pathway that will make it easier and faster for federal regulators to clear other types of diagnostic tests for consumer home use.”
What if the FDA Approves More Consumer At-Home Tests?
There are implications to each of the two trends described above. In the case of telehealth, if patients see their doctors virtually and the doctors order medical tests, how do clinical laboratories access these patients to collect the specimens needed to do this testing?
Similarly, if, in coming years, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increases the number of diagnostic test specimen-collection kits that consumers can use from home, how should local clinical laboratories position themselves to receive those kits and perform those tests?
These are two examples of important questions to be answered at sessions scheduled for the Executive War College in San Antonio on Nov. 2-3. Case studies by innovative lab leaders will address topics ranging from high-level strategy to daily management, operations, marketing, and managed care contracting.
Attendance Limited at This Fall’s Executive War College
At the first live edition of the Executive War College since May 2019, attendees will notice one significant difference from earlier years. By design, and for the safety and well-being of attendees, the number of attendees will be limited to 300. The hotel follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is prepared to adjust those numbers as CDC guidance evolves. Thus, those interested in attending this year’s conference are advised to register early to guarantee their place and avoid being disappointed.
Suggestions for session topics and speakers are welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Conference details, session topics, and speakers will be updated regularly at www.executivewarcollege.com.
So, register today because seating is limited at the 2021 Executive War College Presents “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.” To ensure your place at this valuable conference, click HERE or place this URL (https://dark.regfox.com/2021-ewc-presents) into your browser.
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