To help medical laboratories understand how to deliver patient-centric lab testing services, the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) has launched its “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness” (ICE) program. CLMA President Paul Epner (pictured above) will be conducting a free webinar about the ICE program on August 12 and the details of ICE and the webinar can be found at the CLMA website. (Photo copyright CLMA.)

Increasing Clinical Effectiveness’ is the name of new initiative that CLMA is making available to all medical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups

There is now little disagreement that the U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of a transformation away from reactive and acute care and to proactive, integrated clinical care. This is why clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups across the nation now find themselves at a critical crossroads.

This trend presents medical laboratory managers, pathologists, and clinical chemists who lead the nation’s labs with an important question: When is it time to shift the lab’s focus away from its traditional “lab-centric” emphasis and position the lab as a “patient-centric” clinical service?

Number of ACOs and Medical Homes Is Increasing Steadily

Across the nation, the number of accountable-care organizations (ACOs) and patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) continues to increase, as does the number of patients served by these different models of integrated clinical-care organizations.

A related development is the growing number of mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations involving hospitals and health systems that have competed against each other for decades. It is significant when such ardent competitors announce plans to merge their organizations into an integrated delivery system that is much larger and capable of serving all patients across a major metropolitan area.

Paul Epner

To help medical laboratories understand how to deliver patient-centric lab testing services, the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) has launched its “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness” (ICE) program. CLMA President Paul Epner (pictured above) will be conducting a free webinar about the ICE program on August 12 and the details of ICE and the webinar can be found at the CLMA website. (Photo copyright CLMA.)

“Although the transformation to a patient-centric healthcare system will not happen overnight, it is a development that all labs must acknowledge and incorporate into their strategic planning,” stated Paul Epner, President of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA).

“Traditionally, labs have given the most attention to their internal operation, quality, and service execution. A critical success factor going forward will be for labs to deliver targeted value that improves patient outcomes and contributes to reduced healthcare costs.”

Moving Lab Test Services from Lab-Centric to Patient-Centric

Epner characterized the culture in most medical laboratories today as “lab-centric.” He offered some metaphors to describe the differences after a lab organization drops its lab-centric emphasis and pursues the patient-centric goal. “Lab managers should think about shifting their lab’s focus from a cost center to a strategic asset; from the factory-model of laboratory medicine to one tightly integrated in support of patient care,” noted Epner.

“As fee-for-service reimbursement gives way to bundled reimbursement and per-member-per-month payment, labs will only be successful if they add value to physicians by helping them diagnose disease earlier and more accurately.”

To help labs in their transition from lab-centric to patient-centric, The CLMA has launched a program that has two goals:

• To identify and recognize first-mover and early-adopter clinical labs that have successfully advanced patient-centric care within their organizations and their communities; and,

• To use these case studies of lab success in supporting patient-centric care to teach other medical laboratories how to better organize and deliver patient-centric services that have value to physicians, patients, and payers.

New Program Is ‘Increasing Clinical Effectiveness’

CLMA has named this program “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness,” or ICE. CLMA’s partners are Orchard Software of Carmel, Indiana, and The Dark Report  of Austin, Texas.

“Our hope is that ICE is a catalyst that helps lab administrators, pathologists, and medical laboratory scientists broaden the focus of their laboratory beyond operational efficiency to include measurable impact on positive patient outcomes,” declared Epner. “All laboratories and other healthcare organizations are encouraged to provide examples of their patient-centric services and successes.”

Organizations interested in participating in the ICE program are invited to submit abstracts of patient-centered initiatives. Such submissions will be accepted starting on August 18, 2014, and the submission period will close on November 17, 2014.

Abstracts that meet submission criteria will be invited to create a poster for display at CLMA’s 2015 KnowledgeLab (attendance is required).

Submitters of the best abstracts (up to three) will be invited to present their findings orally at a general session of CLMA’s upcoming KnowledgeLab in Orlando, Florida, March 29-April 1, 2015, and at the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 5-6, 2015. Travel and hotel expenses will be awarded to the oral presenters.

Upcoming Webinar on ICE and Increasing Value of Lab Testing

More information about the ICE program can be found here. (Or copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://www.clma.org/ICE.)

CLMA is conducting a free webinar to introduce clinical laboratory professionals to the concepts of the patient-centric laboratory, adding value with medical lab testing services, and the details of the ICE program. This webinar will be led by Paul Epner and will take place on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, at 1pm CDT. All interested parties are invited to join and learn more about the ICE program. Please click here to register for the webinar.

“All laboratory organizations are encouraged to submit abstracts of their patient-centric initiatives involving medical laboratory testing,” said Epner. “Of interest are projects that resulted in such improved patient outcomes as decreased length of stay, reduction in antibiotic use, decreased time to diagnosis, and a decline in adverse events. Of course, labs are equally welcome to submit other innovative projects that use medical lab testing to deliver added value to physicians and patients.”

Related Information:

Full Details about “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness” (ICE)

Frequently Asked Questions about “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness” (ICE)

Details about ICE training webinar on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, at 1:00 pm CDT

While ACO Care Coordination Holds Promise for Improving Quality and Lowering Healthcare Costs, It’s Still a ‘Work in Progress’

ACOs and Medical Homes: Preparing Your Lab for Dramatic Changes in How Physicians Use Clinical Laboratories