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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Pathologists and Physicians in United Kingdom Comment on How Shortage of Medical Laboratory Professionals Could Soon Delay Essential Diagnostic, Therapeutic Testing

As chronic disease and aging populations strain the UK’s medical systems, staffing shortages at pathology laboratories contribute to lengthening delays of critical diagnostic services

In the United Kingdom (UK), pathologists and other physicians are going public with their concerns that a growing shortage of pathologists and medical laboratory scientists will soon contribute to delays in performing the lab tests needed to diagnose patients—particularly those with cancer—and identify which therapies will work best for them.

Thanks to vast improvements to both medical laboratory capabilities and treatment options, the cancer survival rate in the UK doubled over the past four decades. However, early diagnosis is a critical component to a successful outcome. As further strain is placed on medical laboratories and diagnostic providers, wait times continue to increase beyond the thresholds created by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Worsening an already dire situation, a November 2016 report from Cancer Research UK, “Testing Times to Come? An Evaluation of Pathology Capacity Across the UK,” predicts a critical shortage in laboratory staffing within the next decade. Data on Provider-based Cancer Waiting Times for August 2016 from National Health Service England shows that 17.2% of patients with an urgent referral for suspected cancer fail to start treatment within two months of the referral. (more…)

Creating Added Value from Clinical Pathology Laboratory Testing Produced Improved Outcomes at University of Mississippi Medical Center and Broward Health

Innovative medical laboratories shared their successes in improving lab test utilization that included physician engagement and close monitoring of key metrics

DATELINE: ORLANDO, FLORIDA—One big challenge facing medical laboratories  and anatomic pathology groups in the United States today is the need to transition from a transaction-based business model (increasing specimen volume leads to increasing revenue) to a value-based business model (helping providers improve their use of clinical laboratory tests in ways that measurably improve patient outcomes while controlling or reducing the cost of care.)

Two trends reinforce the need for clinical laboratories to craft strategies to develop new ways to add value to lab testing services.

One trend is the move by Medicare and private health insurers to shift reimbursement for providers away from fee-for-service  and toward bundled reimbursement and budgeted reimbursement.

The second trend is the emergence of integrated clinical care organizations. The most visible of these are accountable care organizations (ACO) and patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). What these care delivery organizations have in common is that they require hospitals, physicians, clinical laboratories, imaging centers, nursing homes and other types of providers to work together more effectively so that patients receive healthcare in a seamless fashion because there is a continuum: primary care to specialty care to acute care and back again. (more…)

Theranos Selects Phoenix Metro to Plant Its Flag and Enter the Competitive Market for Clinical Pathology Laboratory Testing

As predicted by Fortune Magazine in its coverage of Theranos, with its expansion into Phoenix, the lab company is getting its closest scrutiny from pathologists and medical technologists

Recent developments in Phoenix, Arizona, make it clear that Theranos has chosen this desert metropolis to be the launching pad for its much-publicized proprietary clinical laboratory testing business.

The highly-secretive company, which claims to have more market value than either Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX) or Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE: LH), is now building the infrastructure needed to operate as a local medical laboratory company in Phoenix.

Theranos Has CLIA Laboratory in Scottsdale

The April 20 issue of The Dark Report presented two exclusive intelligence briefings about Theranos and its business plans. The company now has its “wellness centers” operating in about 41 Walgreens pharmacies throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. It has opened a clinical laboratory facility in Scottsdale and is currently working to acquire its CLIA certification. When certified, this lab facility will allow Theranos to perform testing locally, eliminating the need to transport all specimens to its CLIA lab in Fremont, California. (more…)

New Federal Law Has Potential to Financially Devastate Local Clinical Laboratories, While Favoring Larger National Medical Labs

“Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” requires most medical laboratories to report market data and allows Medicare officials cut prices of Part B lab tests beginning in 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA—No single development in the clinical laboratory industry grabbed more attention last week at the Executive War College than news that a new federal law gives Medicare officials the ability to reduce prices of individual medical laboratory tests by as much as 75% between 2017 and 2022.

This law is titled the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” (PAMA). Congress passed this legislation to patch the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula until April 2015. (more…)

Part Two on Cost-Cutting Trend in Nation’s Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups: How Innovative Labs Are Responding to Falling Lab Test Prices

In today’s tough financial environment, medical laboratories with effective Lean and Six Sigma improvement programs are showing the best financial performance

When Dark Daily wrote about how cost-cutting is now a major clinical laboratory industry trend last Wednesday, publication of that ebriefing triggered a flow of emails and commentary from readers far and wide.

Pathologists and medical laboratory managers who read Dark Daily tell us that they are facing painful decisions about where to cut. This is particularly true when labs cut expenses by reducing staff, laying off FTEs. This approach brings much emotional pain—along with the loss of valuable technical skills and extensive organizational experience that cannot be easily replaced.