Medical laboratories now taking the steps to deliver patient-centric lab testing services report solid successes in improving patient/physician satisfaction, increasing lab revenue, and gaining more network access

Evidence is accumulating that “patient-centric” medical laboratory testing services are poised to become one of the most important new paradigms to reshape the house of pathology and clinical laboratory medicine in decades. Better yet, patient-centric lab services will earn more revenue for those labs that move fastest to incorporate these capabilities into their service mix.

“The paradigm of patient-center lab testing services couldn’t come at a better time for the clinical laboratory industry. Most labs are reeling from what is now nearly a full decade of successive and painful reductions in lab test prices and lab budgets,” observed Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report, which is Dark Dailys sister publication. “After years of aggressive cost-cutting, most labs are down to the bare essentials and staff is overworked. That is why there is an urgent need for an operational and clinical strategy that will earn more payment from payers.

Progressive Clinical Laboratories Are Becoming Patient-Centric

“The good news is that a small, but growing, number of clinical labs and anatomic pathology groups are busy transforming their traditional volume-based labs into patient-centric labs and, as they do, they are being rewarded,” continued Michel. “We see labs that are first to the table with patient-centric services being financially rewarded in two ways.

“First, there are hospital and health system labs currently offering patient-centric services to their parent organizations and measuring the improvement in patient care,” he explained. “As hospital administrators (particularly the CFOs) recognize that patient outcomes are improving and the overall cost per episode of care is declining in response to the lab’s first round of patient-centric services, they increase the lab budgets to enable their lab teams to implement a new round of patient-centric services that involve a different disease or health condition.

Two Ways That Patient-Centric Medical Laboratories Increase Revenue, Profits

“Second, medical labs that introduce patient-centric services in the ambulatory and outreach settings directly increase their revenue in two primary ways,” noted Michel. “The first way is actually a fast-track to improve net collected revenue. These labs implement patient-centric capabilities designed to improve the accuracy of incoming lab test orders (which contributes to more clean claims and faster payer settlements), and to also recognize individual patients at time-of-service so that co-pays, deductibles, and out-pocket fees—and even overdue amounts—can be collected directly from the patient.

“The second way that labs increase their collected revenue via the introduction of patient-centric services takes a bit longer and comes from improved managed care payments,” he stated. “As labs collect the data that demonstrate how patient-centric lab testing services contribute to improved patient outcomes, reduce utilization of unnecessary or duplicate tests, and enable physicians to deliver precision medicine to the health insurer’s beneficiaries, this data is used during contract and network negotiations with health insurers to demonstrate why the insurer should pay the lab more because of the value realized by the lab’s patient-centric services.”

Special Opportunity to Learn More about Patient-Centric Lab Services

The Dark Report has identified several organizations that have been early to develop patient-centric services. For example, at 941-bed Huntsville Hospital, in Huntsville, Ala., the clinical laboratory recognized how improving the accuracy of incoming lab test orders from its lab outreach clients would improve revenue and efficiency in multiple ways. However, to do that, it needed information technology (IT) tools to interface with the laboratory information system (LIS) and existing software systems to enable patient-centric algorithms and similar capabilities.

Some of the benefits realized from this early introduction of patient-centric services were:

• A single repository containing all lab test orders (regardless of which system originally captured the order);

• Less patient wait times in the PSCs;

• Real-time feeds with the hospital’s electronic health record (EHR); and

• Fewer patient call-backs.

Now, with the ability to identify an individual patient, the lab can work with physicians to reduce duplicate test orders and improve utilization of medical laboratory tests.

Lab managers and pathologists interested in learning more about the patient-centric service successes at Huntsville Hospital can participate in a special webinar, titled, “Delivering Patient-Centered Lab Testing Services: Elevating the Lab Order with Patient-Centric Repository and New Informatics Tools to Increase Lab Revenue and Support Clinicians for Better Clinical Outcomes.” It will take place Wednesday, April 12, at 1:00 PM EDT.

April webinar speakers

During the special Dark Report webinar, Lisa Conley, MT(ASCP), (above left); Mark Tuthill, MD, of Henry Ford Health System (above center); and Randall Henson of Huntsville Hospital (above right), will explain how to increase revenue while improving patient/physician satisfaction by implementing patient-centric laboratory testing services. (Photo copyright: The Dark Report.)

Sharing the successes and lessons learned in patient-centric care at Huntsville Hospital during the webinar will be Randall Henson, Manager of Lab Outreach Development and Solutions.

Another health system laboratory making steady progress with patient-centric services that contribute to improved revenue is Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, represented by Mark Tuthill, MD, Division Head, Pathology Informatics, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. His clinical lab implemented informatics capabilities that measurably increased the satisfaction of both patients and physicians. The introduction of other patient-centric capabilities resulted in better collection of insurance data from outreach test orders, thus contributing to improved collections and more net revenue.

The webinar’s third speaker brings a national perspective to the topic of patient-centric lab testing services. At Atlas Medical of Calabasas, Calif., Lisa Conley, MT(ASCP), Senior Vice President of Growth for Atlas Medical, works with some of the nation’s most innovative lab organizations. Informed by her insider perspectives about what is working and what is not, Conley will guide webinar participants through the critical success factors of planning and implementing different types of patient-centric lab testing services.

The cornerstone of her advice and insights will emphasize the role of incoming clean lab test orders as the foundation for a multitude of patient-centric lab services and capabilities that directly contribute to improving the lab’s revenue and profitability.

Topics will include:

• Attacking dirty, incomplete, or inaccurate orders with powerful platform rules to ensure clean orders, regardless of order source;

• Dramatic reduction in monthly write-offs by use of medical necessity validation with ABNs, along with duplicate test and frequency checking;

• Proven ways to help physicians with over- and under-utilization of testing using algorithms and the patient-centric repository; and

• Using the patient-centric informatics capabilities to keep testing within your laboratories and reduce send out expenses to reference laboratories.

Healthcare’s ongoing, swift transformation from volume to value, and from reactive care to precision medicine, leaves clinical labs and pathology groups with less time to develop the right strategies to survive and prosper. That is why this timely webinar gives clinical lab managers and pathology group administrators the insights, tools, and approaches that are essential to starting the journey to become a profitable, patient-centric lab organization.

Register today and include your team on this timely and important webinar.

—Michael McBride

Related Information:

Delivering Patient-Centered Lab Testing Services: Elevating the Lab Order with Patient-Centric Repository and New Informatics Tools to Increase Lab Revenue and Support Clinicians for Better Clinical Outcomes

Is a Patient-Centric Approach to Clinical Laboratory Management the Best Way to Move from Volume to Value?

Specialist Physicians Launch Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Creating Opportunities for Clinical Pathology Laboratories to Deliver Value-Added Medical Lab Testing