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 May Be Healthcare’s Rock Stars of Big Data in Genomic Medicine’s ’Third Wave’

Pathologists are positioned to be the primary interpreters of big data as genomic medicine further evolves

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers may be surprised to learn that at least one data scientist has proclaimed pathologists the real big data rock stars of healthcare. The reason has to do with the shift in focus of genomic medicine from therapeutics and presymptomatic disease assessment to big data analytics.

In a recent posting published at, data scientist Jim Golden heralded the pronouncement of Harvard pathologist Mark S. Boguski, M.D., Ph.D., FACM. He declared that “The time of the $1,000 genome meme is over!” (more…)

UnitedHealth to Acquire Brazil’s Largest Private Health Insurer for a Price of $4.9 Billion

UnitedHealth’s acquisition of Brazil’s Amil is another example of healthcare’s globalization and may open door for clinical laboratory acquisitions in Brazil

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is buying an HMO in Brazil. The two players are the largest insurers in their respective countries. For pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals, this merger demonstrates that the trend toward globalization of healthcare—including laboratory medicine—continues one step at a time.

Brazil’s Growing Middle Class Drives Demand for Coverage

On October 8, 2012, UnitedHealth announced in a press release that it would pay $4.9 billion in cash to acquire a 90% stake in Brazil’s Amil Participacoes S.A. (BM&FBOVESPA: AMIL3). Amil is Brazil’s largest private insurer and operator of health clinics. The company provides health benefits and services to more than five million people. (more…)

Super-Fast Microscope Captures Circulating Tumor Cells with High Sensitivity and Resolution in Real Time

Pathology groups and clinical labs could use the world’s fastest camera to diagnose cancer at earlier stages

There’s a new optical microscope that can detect rogue cancer cells. It was developed by engineers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The achievement could create new diagnostic capabilities for pathology and clinical laboratory medicine.

New Instrument Detects Circulating Tumor Cells

The target for this new high-speed microscope are Circulating cancer tumor cells (CTC). CTCs are the precursors to metastasis and metastatic cancer accounts for about 90% of cancer mortalities. However, CTCs are difficult to find and identify. Among a billion healthy cells, only a minute number of CTCs exist. (more…)

Kaiser and Other Health Systems Create Nation’s Largest Private-Sector Diabetes Registry

New database of diabetes patients opens door for pathologists to improve existing medical laboratory testing algorithms

Integration of healthcare informatics is proceeding at a brisk pace. The latest evidence comes from 11 highly-respected integrated health systems that are pooling data to create the largest, most comprehensive private-sector diabetes registry in the country. It will contain information from 1.1 million diabetic patients.

For clinical laboratory managers and pathologists, this “super diabetes database” demonstrates that many multi-hospital health systems are now willing to pool patient data to make it easier to identify clinical trends. This data will also be used to develop more sophisticated evidence-based medicine (EBM) guidelines—many of which will involve better utilization of medical laboratory tests.

Humana and Norton Healthcare’s Pilot ACO Triggered Both Increased Utilization of Clinical Laboratory Tests and Improved Patient Outcomes

Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists will want to develop strategies for adding value under ACO model

One lesson learned from a pilot accountable care organization (ACO) project is that increased utilization of clinical laboratory testing in appropriate circumstances will contribute to improved patient outcomes. Just one year into a pilot ACO partnership, Norton Healthcare and insurer Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) have shown quality gains and some modest savings.

This is encouraging news for pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. It shows that, when physicians participating in ACOs more closely follow evidence-based medicine (EBM) guidelines, the increase in lab test utilization can play the expected role in improving diagnosis and guiding therapeutic choices. However, it should be noted that the results disclosed by the Norton/Humana ACO pilot only cover a short period of time. (more…)