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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Finding Genomes with ‘Knockout’ Genes Leads to Development of New Therapeutic Drugs, along with Clinical Laboratory Tests for these Biomarkers

Drugs based on knockout genes are expected to trigger the need for companion diagnostic tests that will be performed by pathologists and medical laboratory scientists

Pharmaceutical companies and other research programs are developing a new opportunity to use information from human genome sequencing to create a new class of therapeutic drugs. These drugs target “knockout genes” and those same genes are expected to be used as diagnostic biomarkers for clinical laboratory testing as a new field of companion diagnostics emerges.

In simplest terms, large-scale DNA sequencing of the human genome is enabling researchers to identify individuals with “knockout” genes and then develop therapeutic drugs based on that knowledge.

The first commercial success story from this partnership of geneticists and the pharmaceutical industry is expected to be a new class of drugs that lowers cholesterol. These drugs may reach pharmacy shelves this year, reported an October 24 Nature article. (more…)

ACOs Are Learning to Use Big Data

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers could find opportunity to add value as providers learn to use big data to improve patient outcomes and lower costs

Early adopter accountable care organizations (ACOs) are establishing data warehouses. This is a first step in collecting and analyzing healthcare big data. The move toward integrated care makes big data critical to an ACO’s success. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will want to follow the healthcare big data trend because laboratory test results will be a major component of that data.

The Goal of Healthcare Big Data

The goal for healthcare big data is twofold: 1) develop the ability to aggregate a vast amount of data from wide-ranging sources, and 2) use that data in real time to improve care and lower costs, a recent story published in Modern Healthcare (MH) reported. New performance-based reimbursement models mean that big data analytics will be essential for ACOs to succeed going forward. (more…)

Mayo Clinic and Whole Biome Announce Collaboration to Research the Role of the Human Microbiome in Women’s Diseases Using Unique Medical Laboratory Tests

This joint research effort will initiate a new field of clinical laboratory diagnostic tests that target the human microbiome

Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is about to commence clinical trials utilizing innovative clinical laboratory tests that target the human microbiome. Women’s health is the initial focus for these clinical studies.

Mayo Clinic is collaborating with San Francisco-based Whole Biome, Inc., to conduct these clinical trials. Whole Biome developed the diagnostic tests to be used in the clinical study. (more…)

New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center Using Big Data to Improve Clinical Care

Big data is poised to change the healthcare ecosystem and that creates opportunities for forward-looking medical laboratories

First-mover academic center, Mount Sinai Medical Center (MSMC), is taking steps to incorporate “big data” into the daily patient-care setting. For the medical laboratory industry, this is a signal event because a major component of healthcare big data will be patient genetic and molecular information.

Included on MSMC’s big data team are  its genetics laboratory experts. These are high-profile “data scientists” who help doctors make personalized predictions about their patients. This project shows how integrated healthcare informatics—including clinical laboratory test data—will be a key attribute of healthcare moving forward.

Medicare Officials Post Prices of 3,000 Hospitals in Effort to Raise Consumer Awareness of Arbitrary Hospital Pricing

Goal is to provide transparency to help consumers shop for hospitals; experts predict more transparency in healthcare prices, including for clinical laboratory and pathology testing

For the first time ever, a federal agency has posted on the Internet the prices hospitals charge for healthcare services specifically to help consumers price shop when they select a hospital. This is a major development and has direct implications for clinical laboratories and pathology groups that are based in hospitals and health systems.

On May 8th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the availability of hospital-specific cost data for inpatient services at 3,000 hospitals. The data are now available on the Medicare Website. (more…)