27th annual meeting of medical laboratory and pathology managers delivers insights on the path ahead for diagnostics, ranging from the supply chain shortage and the ‘Great Resignation’ to advances in artificial intelligence and whole genome sequencing in service of precision medicine
What’s coming as healthcare providers move to post-COVID-19 pandemic workflows will be of keen interest to clinical laboratory leaders attending this critical event. Several new and dynamic market changes are reshaping the development of, ordering, and reimbursement for medical laboratory tests. They include:
Millennials as change agents in how care is accessed and delivered.
New buyers of large volumes of clinical lab tests, such as retail pharmacies.
How clinical laboratories can earn new sources of revenue while supporting precision medicine.
Clinical Labs Should Prepare for the ‘Coming Roller Coaster Ride’
Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily’s sister publication, The Dark Report, and Founder of the Executive War College, described the “coming roller coaster ride” for the pathology and clinical laboratory industries.
Amid the usual operational issues labs deal with (e.g., workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions, regulatory pressures), he noted the emergence of new and powerful forces pulling clinical laboratories and pathology groups in all directions.
“One primary factor is how Millennials will use healthcare differently than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers,” Michel noted. “Similarly, Millennials will make up 75% of the pathologists and the lab workforce by 2025.
“Another major force for change will be new buyers of clinical laboratory tests,” he continued. “For example, expect to see national retail pharmacy chains build thousands of primary care clinics in their retail pharmacies. These clinics will need lab tests and will become major buyers of near-patient analyzers and lab tests.
“A third interesting factor is that a new class of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers are developing analyzers and test systems that use minimal amounts of specimens and return answers in minutes. Primary care clinics in retail pharmacies will be interested in buying these lab testing solutions,” Michel concluded.
In addition, several sessions and panel Q/A discussions will cover critical legal and regulatory issues and payer challenges facing the industry.
New Technologies, Workflows, Analytics
The 2022 Executive War College master classes, breakouts, panel discussions, and benefactor sessions will highlight several significant themes:
Lab data analytics and utilization. Sessions this year are heavily weighted toward data analytics, aggregation, and utilization. Look for case studies demonstrating the value of lab data, and where and how data has become actionable and monetized. As Dark Daily previously reported, useful data structures have been difficult to achieve for clinical laboratories; however, the case studies featured during this week’s conference will demonstrate signs of progress and highlight lessons learned.
Automation. Several case studies are planned that focus on expansion and modernization using laboratory automation. From Butler Health System, an independent hospital system in western Pa., Robert Patterson, MD, Medical Director of Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, and Laboratory Outreach, will detail steps Butler took that enabled its labs to better compete with other area health systems and national reference laboratories. Likewise, Eric Parnell, System Supervisor of Microbiology for Bronson Healthcare in southern Mich., will discuss his lab’s transition to and implementation of total laboratory automation.
Genetic testing and next-generation sequencing (NGS). Quickly becoming the foundational disruptor technology on which many new and powerful clinical laboratory tests and procedures are based, genomic testing has now become accessible and affordable. Many clinical laboratories and pathology groups are using molecular diagnostics testing to deliver clinical value to referring physicians.
Other sessions include:
Launching and scaling clinical NGS testing in a clinical environment (featuring a project at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego).
How labs and payers can work together to achieve better outcomes and health equity using genomic testing.
Effective ways to repurpose PCR and other genetic test instruments to build specimen volume and increase lab revenue.
Paths Forward for Clinical Labs and Pathology Groups
Another important topic being discussed at the 2022 Executive War College is how to position clinical laboratories and pathology groups for the next phase of modern healthcare.
Attracting capital for clinical labs and pathology groups.
Emerging concepts in growth strategies.
Business valuation factors.
Unexpected disruptions during sales closings.
These are just a few highlights of the informative sessions and expert speakers scheduled during this week’s 27th annual Executive War College in New Orleans. Look for more coverage in Dark Daily during the days ahead and in upcoming editions of our sister publication The Dark Report.
Full details about the 2022 Executive War College can be found by clicking on this link. (Or copy/paste this URL into your web browser: http://www.executivewarcollege.com.)
Speakers, session topics, and the conference agenda can be viewed by clicking on this link. (Or copy/paste this URL into your web browser: https://executivewarcollege.darkintelligencegroup.com/executive-war-college-agenda-2022.)
Following a nearly two-year disruption due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals once again have an opportunity to gather and learn from each other
It is good news that the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 continue declining here in the United States. That fact, and the growing number of vaccinations, have encouraged state and federal officials to lift many restrictions on business and social activities.
Clinical laboratories are watching a big drop in the daily number of COVID-19 tests they perform, even as routine test volumes climb and more patients show up in doctors’ offices for the typical mix of ailments and health conditions.
It’s true that many familiar routines are back. But it is also true that things are not exactly the way they were pre-pandemic. And that’s the rub. Going forward, what should medical laboratory managers and pathologists expect to be the “post-pandemic normal” in how patients access care and how providers deliver clinical services? How will healthcare in this country be different from what it was pre-pandemic?
Preparing Clinical Lab Leaders for What Comes Next
These questions and more will be front and center when the Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management returns on Nov. 2-3, 2021, at the Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The theme of this first live gathering since the spring of 2019 will be “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.”
“Today, lab managers have the interesting challenge of understanding the new opportunities they can use to advance their labs, both clinically and financially,” stated Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report, and founder of the Executive War College. “It isn’t that the pandemic changed healthcare in fundamental ways. Rather, it is that the pandemic accelerated changes that were underway before the outbreak began.
“That’s true of telehealth as well, for example,” he continued. “Once the nation was locked down, utilization of virtual physician visits and telehealth services skyrocketed. Today, national surveys confirm that as many as 50% of all patients and physicians have used a telehealth service, are comfortable with this type of appointment, and are ready to continue to use virtual office visits.
“Another trend accelerated by the pandemic is patient self-testing at home,” Michel added. “Government health officials saw the benefit of clearing for clinical use different specimen collection systems and COVID-19 test methods designed for use by consumers in the comfort of their home. Today, consumers can choose from multiple specimen collection products and SARS-CoV-2 tests designed for in-home use. Clinical laboratory managers should consider this development to be a consumer home-test baseline. Federal officials have created a regulatory pathway that will make it easier and faster for federal regulators to clear other types of diagnostic tests for consumer home use.”
What if the FDA Approves More Consumer At-Home Tests?
There are implications to each of the two trends described above. In the case of telehealth, if patients see their doctors virtually and the doctors order medical tests, how do clinical laboratories access these patients to collect the specimens needed to do this testing?
Similarly, if, in coming years, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increases the number of diagnostic test specimen-collection kits that consumers can use from home, how should local clinical laboratories position themselves to receive those kits and perform those tests?
These are two examples of important questions to be answered at sessions scheduled for the Executive War College in San Antonio on Nov. 2-3. Case studies by innovative lab leaders will address topics ranging from high-level strategy to daily management, operations, marketing, and managed care contracting.
Attendance Limited at This Fall’s Executive War College
At the first live edition of the Executive War College since May 2019, attendees will notice one significant difference from earlier years. By design, and for the safety and well-being of attendees, the number of attendees will be limited to 300. The hotel follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is prepared to adjust those numbers as CDC guidance evolves. Thus, those interested in attending this year’s conference are advised to register early to guarantee their place and avoid being disappointed.
Suggestions for session topics and speakers are welcome and can be sent to email@example.com. Conference details, session topics, and speakers will be updated regularly at www.executivewarcollege.com.
So, register today because seating is limited at the 2021 Executive War College Presents “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.” To ensure your place at this valuable conference, click HERE or place this URL (https://dark.regfox.com/2021-ewc-presents) into your browser.