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
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Crowdsourced Medicine Could Provide Pathologists and Medical Laboratory Scientists with New Methods for Helping Physicians Diagnose Rare Medical Conditions

Unorthodox approach could one day provide clinical laboratories with new market opportunities to offer patients diagnostic services

Patients turning to the Internet to learn about medical ailments, chronic disease, medical laboratory tests, or pathology treatments is nothing remarkable these days. The Internet has become ubiquitous to patients who are engaged in their own healthcare. However, crowdsourcing medical problems to find probable diagnoses for rare medical conditions is a novel approach that is gaining in popularity.

Crowdsourcing is a relatively new type of project outsourcing. It involves acquiring specialized advice, services, and other contributions from a large group of qualified individuals who provide their work through the Internet from locations all over the globe.

The general idea is that more brains are better than few or one when it comes to completing tricky projects. It was only a matter of time before crowdsourcing discovered healthcare and companies sprang up to provide it as a service to patients with difficult-to-diagnose conditions, and to the physicians who are treating them. (more…)

Innovative California NPR Project Takes on Healthcare Pricing Transparency

NPR stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles crowdsourced healthcare cost data from listeners to reveal arbitrary pricing of medical services

Over the past two years, Dark Daily has published a number of stories dealing with price transparency, or lack of it, most of which involved government agencies or nonprofits concerned about the high cost of healthcare services. This latest effort to shine a light on healthcare pricing, however, comes from National Public Radio (NPR).

San Francisco’s NPR station, KQED, initiated PriceCheck, an innovative project designed to reveal just how arbitrary medical pricing is in California, in June 2014. KQED partnered with Los Angeles’ NPR station, KPCC, and, a New York City start-up that publishes a national list of low to high charges for common healthcare services, to crowdsource healthcare cost data.

The two NPR stations appealed to listeners to share the charges they paid for four medical services: mammograms, lower-back MRIs, IUDs, and diabetes testing. Hundreds of people responded to share prices they paid for these services, and thousands of people looked up prices on (more…)

Coding Consultant Uses Crowdsourcing for Clinical Pathology Laboratories to Post Amounts Paid by Medicare Contractors for Molecular Test Claims

Medical laboratories have yet to learn how much to expect in payment for molecular pathology test claims submitted to the Medicare program

Concern is rising among pathologists and clinical laboratory directors about what the Medicare program will pay this year for the 104 new molecular test CPT codes. These new CPT codes became effective on January 1, 2013.

Few–if any–medical laboratories have received payments for Medicare claims submitted early in January. That’s because contractors for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are just beginning to process those invoices. The first payments for these molecular test claims are expected within the next several weeks.

Help for Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

To help clinical labs and pathology groups address this problem, CodeMap, LLC, a billing and coding consulting company in Schaumburg, IL, is encouraging clinical labs to post the payment amounts for the molecular test claims they get from the nation’s Medicare Administrative Contractors on the CodeMap website at CodeMap then will make this information available to participating medical laboratories and the public.

crowdsourcing graphic

To fill the knowledge vacuum that exists as different Medicare Administrative Contractors use the gap-fill method to develop reimbursement for the 104 new molecular test CPT codes, CodeMap, LLC, of Schaumburg, IL, is using the crowdsourcing solution. Also known as distributed problem solving, CodeMap is inviting clinical laboratories and pathology groups to voluntarily provide data about their payments for Medicare claims involving the new molecular test codes. (Graphic by


Pathology Labs Might Benefit from $1 Million Challenge to Sequence the Genome of a Single Cancer Cell

Goal is to produce accurate sequence of one human cancer cell; could lead to new cancer tests

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will find the latest “prize” for a genetic breakthrough to have direct relevance to molecular diagnostics. One million dollars will go to the first person who sequences an entire cancer cell genome, including all of the RNA, using a specific whole human genome sequencer made by Carlsbad, California-based Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE).

This is the fourth of seven challenges being put out to the public at large. It is part of the global biotechnology company’s crowdsourcing initiative, dubbed the “Life Grand Challenges Contest.” Life Technologies first announced the contest in December of 2010, and since then, has posed three earlier challenges, each one also paying $1 million upon completion and verification.