I have just finished confirming 49 speakers for this year’s Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management and there is disturbing news to share. It is the collective opinion of these distinguished individuals that a cycle of rapid change has already begun to engulf the laboratory profession in the United States.
In general, most of this year’s speakers can identify at least one trend which threatens the financial security and operational stability of their laboratory organization. Their comments to me reflect a noteworthy difference compared to earlier years. Here is a quick list of the most significant trends which have the potential to be a threat to established laboratories:
• Rapid shift in managed care contracting practices that are likely end up excluding most local and regional laboratories from provider panels, with the new UnitedHealth contract as the leading edge
• Fast-growing numbers of urologists and gastroenterologists taking active steps to create their own in-house anatomic pathology laboratory, also described as the “TC/PC” trend
• Demands by office-based physicians for their laboratory to create interface gateways that support electronic test ordering from the physicians’ EMR (electronic medical record) system and deliver lab test results direction into the patient record in the EMR
• Expectations that imaging giants Siemens and GE, after spending billions to buy Bayer Diagnostics, DPC, and Abbott Diagnostics, are preparing to muscle into laboratory testing and molecular pathology
• Growing acceptance of Lean and Six Sigma quality management methods in laboratories and pathology groups, thus giving these lab organizations competitive advantage over labs which have yet to adopt such management systems
I’m going to stop with these five trends. Most of you can recognize how each can threaten existing lab organizations. Many of you are already implementing strategies within your laboratory to respond to these threats and convert them into opportunities for growth, enhanced profits, and long term financial stability.
Armed with this knowledge, we’ve crafted a total package of insights and solutions at the upcoming Executive War College on May 10-11 to help you with this multiplicity of trends in the lab services marketplace. For example, David P. King, the new CEO of Laboratory Corporation of America will make a major address on “Managed Care Contract for Laboratory Services: Important Changes Lie Ahead.”
In future e-briefings, I will comment on those other important trends identified above. For those of you who would like to see all 49 topics and speakers, visit http://www.excutivewarcollege.com for the complete program.
Robert L. Michel
Dark Daily Editor
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PS: In the latest issue of The Dark Report, now in the mail to you, our lead stories deal with the rapid turnover of UnitedHealth business from Quest Diagnostics Incorporated and LabCorp’s three-stage strategy for using the UnitedHealth contract to boost its long-term presence in local markets throughout the country. It’s not only interesting reading, but gives regional laboratories a head start in understanding the next competitive cycle that will soon be launched.