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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UnitedHealthcare Introduces ‘myEasyBook’ Online Shopping Service to Help Consumers Select Hospitals, Physicians, and Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Targeted at employers and their employees, myEasyBook is designed to help consumers with high-deductible health plans save 30% or more when picking a provider

It is rare for a national health insurance company to use the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to unveil a new online healthcare service, but that’s exactly what UnitedHealthcare Group (NYSE: UNH) did. On January 7, it took the wraps off its new myEasyBook healthcare shopping service.

Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists should take note of this development. It is one more example of how prominent healthcare companies want to help consumers shop for healthcare providers by providing information about quality and price in an easy-to-use format. Every medical laboratory should be thinking about when and how it wants to make its quality information and lab test pricing readily available to consumers. (more…)

Consolidation of Big Hospital Systems May Drive Healthcare Costs Even Higher, Say Some Experts

Recent hospital mergers are creating super-sized health systems that immediately gain leverage over insurers when negotiating managed care contracts

Experts say the nation is experiencing its biggest surge in hospital mergers in more than a decade. Moreover, this latest wave of deals is creating supersized hospital systems that are expected to dominate healthcare and possibly lead to higher healthcare costs.

The ongoing consolidation of hospital ownership means further consolidation of the hospital laboratories that find themselves merged into larger health systems. That will have both good and bad consequences for pathologists and medical laboratory managers working within these organizations. (more…)

Medical Home Concept Poised to be National Model, May Increase Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Testing

Medicare to do National Demonstration Project Involving Medical Homes

Medical home pilot projects are being closely watched by pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. This is a new model of patient-centered care which has important advocates among primary care practitioners. If the medical home concept catches on, it may require clinical laboratories to provide laboratory testing services in a different way.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, a medical-home pilot project is taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to managing chronic illnesses. This project is viewed by some as a precursor to a national model. The innovative program, which combines the Wagner Chronic Care Model with the patient-centered medical home concept, provides physicians with resources to improve patient–doctor communications. The pilot project is also designed to educate willing patients on how to self-manage their chronic illnesses.

Hospital Laboratories Pursue Higher Patient Satisfaction Scores with Innovative Services

American Society of Clinical Pathology recognizes top-performing clinical pathology labs

When it comes to patient satisfaction rankings in hospitals, the clinical pathology laboratory is often ranked at the very bottom of the 10 clinical service categories measured by patient survey systems such as Press Ganey Associates. This bottom-tier ranking is undeserved, but happens for a logical reason.

For most patients, their only interaction with the hospital’s laboratory is when a phlebotomist sticks them with a needle to collect blood. Most patients find needle sticks to be uncomfortable and unpleasant. Further, a significant number of patients are afraid of needles.


Stanford Study Shows How Pathologists May Eventually Use the Whole Human Genome for Diagnostic Purposes

Researchers use patient’s whole genome to predict his risk for 55 different health conditions

For pathologists, the day draws ever closer when they will use a patient’s whole genome sequence for diagnostic purposes. That’s the implication from research being done at the University of Stanford Medical School where scientists recently made a leap forward in advancing practical application of the human genome to patient care.

Stanford researchers recently announced that, for the first time, a healthy person’s complete DNA was sequenced, then used to create an easy-to-use, cumulative risk report. This study model could catapult patient genomic analysis into clinical laboratories even as it adds personalized medicine to the doctor’s black bag of diagnostic tools within the decade. The Stanford study team reported these findings in a recent issue of Lancet.