Trend of Hospitals Re-entering the Health Insurance Market May Benefit Hospital Laboratories

As ACO movement gathers momentum, hospitals and health systems see opportunities in providing health insurance

Hospitals and health systems are getting back into the health insurance business. Not only is this seen as an opportunity created by the development of accountable-care organizations (ACOs), but it may help the clinical laboratories of these same hospitals that serve office-based physicians in their communities.

This trend is another result of the Obamacare legislation. Some hospital systems are seizing an opportunity to expand their roles and grow revenue by once again getting into the health insurance business. Some experts believe this trend is likely to create more competition among insurers.

It may also accelerate the shift away from fee-for-service reimbursement to a global or bundled payment structure. As this occurs, medical laboratories will need to develop services that offer greater value to physicians and patients. (more…)

The Joint Commission and SGS Now Offer Hospitals Coordinated Program for Medicare Accreditation and ISO 9001 Certification

Expect more hospitals and health systems to consider adopting the QMS of ISO 9001

It is certainly a sign of changing times when The Joint Commission (JC) enters into an arrangement that will give critical access hospitals the option to pursue The Joint Commission accreditation in combination with certification to ISO 9001.

This is a significant development. It can be assumed that The Joint Commission recognizes the growing interest hospital administrators have in adopting the quality management system (QMS) that is embedded within ISO 9001. Hospital laboratories, clinical laboratories, and anatomic pathology laboratories can earn accreditation to ISO 15189 Medical Laboratories, which also incorporates the QMS embedded within ISO 9001.


More Hospitals Advertise Shorter Patient Wait Times for Their Emergency Departments

New trend pressures clinical pathology laboratories to shorten turnaround times for key lab tests

Anyone who says there’s not much competition for patients has ignored the marketing battle among hospitals to attract patients to their emergency departments (EDs). In a growing number of cities, major hospitals now aggressively advertise guarantees of ever-shorter wait times in their EDs. This trend has a direct impact on clinical pathology laboratories because they must improve turnaround time (TAT) on lab test results to support faster patient care in EDs.

Using the promise of faster patient access to a doctor in the ED is a fascinating phenomenon. It shows that patients do recognize the difference in service they get from hospitals in their community. (Note to our pathology and laboratory friends in the United Kingdom, where lengthy patient wait times are often an issue: here’s an example of how America’s patients’ desire for better faster access to medical care can provide competitive advantage to the American hospital that provides such access.) (more…)