News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
Sign In

Penn Medicine Informatics Taps Medical Laboratory Data and Three Million Patient Records Over 10 Years to Evaluate Patients’ Sepsis Risk and Head Off Heart Failure

This healthcare big data project’s tools and predictive models involve real-time monitoring of patient data and are expected to be available soon to other to providers

One healthcare big data project has begun to report progress on using predictive analytics to improve patient care in the diagnosis and management of such health conditions as sepsis and heart failure. This pioneering effort is being done at the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s (Penn Medicine’s), Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI).

What will be of high interest for pathologists and clinical laboratory executives is how this big data project incorporates lab test results into the effort.

Recently, Penn Medicine announced Penn Signals, a big-data project that, in part, relies on the lab data housed in the academic medical center’s laboratory information system (LIS) as well as its outpatient and inpatient data house in its electronic health record (EHR) system. (more…)

Solutions to the Problems of Rural Hospitals Must Address the Need for Adequate Clinical Laboratory and Anatomic Pathology Testing Services

One idea proving attractive to health policymakers is putting a hybrid model into rural towns that includes a freestanding emergency department and primary care

Times are tough for rural hospitals and officials in many states are looking at new models for healthcare delivery in rural areas. Anatomic pathology groups with contracts to serve rural hospitals will be affected by any changes in how rural hospitals are funded and operated.

One suggested approach to replace the existing community hospital model for rural area is called a hybrid model. It is based on freestanding emergency departments (FSED) that have links to primary care providers. Such a care model would challenge clinical laboratories in the region to provide necessary medical laboratory testing to the freestanding EDs in rural communities.

Rural Hospital Closures Could Jeopardize Local Access to Emergency Care

This problem is linked to the deteriorating finances of many rural hospitals. (more…)

To Find Patients at Highest Risk, Hospitals Combine Consumer Data with Clinical Information—Including Clinical Laboratory Results

Health systems using big data in this manner include Carolinas Healthcare System and UPMC Health

Big data is all the rage in healthcare these days. However, one interesting development in this field is how hospitals are integrating consumer data with clinical data to identify patients at high risk. For example, if the post-surgical heart patient buys a package of cigarettes, some hospitals say they want to know.

This is a trend with interesting implications for clinical laboratories. For example, will hospitals using big data in this fashion want to include medical laboratory test results in the mix of information they collect and analyze on their patients? If so, are there ethical issues associated with using such lab test data in this manner? (more…)

Hospitals Mine Clinical Data to Help Reduce Costs and Avoid Readmissions, Creating Opportunities for Clinical Laboratory Pathologists to Contribute to Improved Patient Outcomes

Medical laboratory test data is one cornerstone of this data mining activity and pathologists are well-positioned to take a more prominent role in helping clinicians use lab tests more effectively

Data mining has arrived at many hospitals and health systems. The goal is to mine large quantities of clinical data to identify useful patterns that can guide clinicians to intervene with specific patients. This trend creates a big opportunity for pathology informaticians to step forward and contribute to improved patient care in significant ways.

Progressive healthcare networks, such as the Carolinas HealthCare System, are creating a lot of buzz for their aggressive and smart use of technology and data. The idea is to ultimately reinvent care—in response to new payment schemes—by preventing acute and critical episodes that may require inappropriate readmissions. (more…)

Kaizen Events Catch on with Labs and Hospitals Using Lean & Six Sigma

Kaizen events are winning favor in a growing number of laboratories and hospitals. These events-typically several days to one week in duration-provide a simple, fast platform to drive significant improvement in clinical services and operational performance.

At the Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) in Charlotte, North Carolina, the laboratory used a Kaizen event to implement major improvements specifically to the laboratory outreach intake operations in the pre-analytical area of the lab. Following just a few days of planning and implementation, the CHS laboratory achieved a substantial reduction in processing time and an equally dramatic reduction in errors and mishandling of outreach specimens.

“Kaizen” is the Japanese word that describes continuous improvement. A Kaizen event consists of three steps. During step one, a cross-disciplinary team of knowledgeable participants in the laboratory or hospital is identified and, prior to the Kaizen event, each individual is asked to study a particular work process or operational problem that will be the target of the Kaizen event. Step two brings this cross-disciplinary team together for several days or one week. During this time together, the team analyzes the situation, identifies opportunities to improve, implements the recommendations, and fine-tunes the changes. Step three is to sustain the improvements achieved during the Kaizen event.

Kaizen events are appealing to many laboratories and hospitals for a simple reason: the concentrated effort invariably produces powerful results that require only a few days to achieve. Another attractive aspect of the Kaizen event is that the lab can bring in an experienced consultant to lead the event and get a big outcome for a small outlay.

Lab managers and pathologists interested in learning how to use Kaizen events will have the opportunity to hear Tom Hassett, Vice President at Carolinas HealthCare System discuss his lab’s successes with this lab management tool in a session titled “Kaizen Event Project Transforms Lab Outreach Intake and Accessioning.” Hassett’s session will be one of several presentations about Kaizen events at the upcoming Lab Quality Confab, scheduled for September 24-25, 2008, at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Experts from Beckman Coulter Corporation will conduct a management master class titled “Using Kaizen Bursts to Improve Performance, Simplify Workflow, and Slash Costs,” providing the essential knowledge needed to successfully use Kaizen events in the laboratory and the hospital.

In addition to Kaizen events, more than 50 presentations at Lab Quality Confab will provide lab managers and pathologists with opportunities to learn and master all aspects of Lean, Six Sigma, and rapid process improvement. With growing numbers of labs and hospitals accelerating their use of Lean and Six Sigma, Lab Quality Confab is the perfect resource for knowledge, networking, and the latest lab case studies. Last year, more than 275 attendees from seven countries participated, making this the world’s largest conference devoted to rapid process improvement in laboratories and hospitals. To see topics, speakers, and all the events at Lab Quality Confab, visit
To register, visit

Related Information:
Full program information and speaker agenda for Lab Quality Confab:

Complete details about the Lean-Six Sigma Poster Presentations, National Trophies, and Cash Awards, along with Poster Presentation Application and Abstract forms:

Four Easy Ways to Register:
1. Register ONLINE
2. Call 800-560-6363. Our friendly staff can register you quickly and easily, as well as answer any questions you may have.
3. Fax this complete registration form to 512-264-0969
4. Mail the one page form with payment to:

21806 Briarcliff Dr.
Spicewood, TX 78669