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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Mobile Medical Laboratory Brings High-Complexity Infectious Disease Testing to South Africa’s Remote Regions

Immediate access to TB and HIV testing means faster diagnosis and treatment for patients in remote areas

Use of a new mobile medical laboratory is boosting access to quality diagnostic testing for patients in remote areas of South Africa, while slashing turnaround times and courier costs. This German-built mobile clinical laboratory performs high complexity testing and may provide a new model for diagnostic testing for other developing countries.

Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) in Saarland, Germany, built the $2 million mobile medical laboratory in collaboration with the government of the Western Cape, a province in southwest South Africa.

The clinical lab-on-wheels operates as an extension of the Caledon Hospital. This is a 75-bed community hospital located in the Overberg district, about 62 miles east of Cape Town. Specimens are sent to the mobile laboratory from health facilities in the surrounding area.


Pathology and Clinical Laboratory Groups Voice Concerns about Two Proposed Genetic Test Registries

Separate genetic and molecular test registries proposed by the National Institutes of Health and by Palmetto GBA draw detailed public comments from medical lab groups

Registries for genetic tests and molecular diagnostic assays don’t seem to be going over well with clinical laboratories and pathology groups. Two different genetic test registries are drawing criticisms from pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals.

One molecular test registry was proposed last year by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For different purposes, this fall, Palmetto GBA, the Medicare Carrier based in Columbia, South Carolina, proposed a molecular test registry that would be used by laboratories billing for molecular testing services provided in the Medicare J1 region, which includes California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

This second registry is part of what Palmetto GBA has named the “Molecular Diagnostic Program” (MolDx). Palmetto expects this registry will help resolve problems created by code stacking claims for genetic and molecular tests. (See Dark DailyPalmetto GBA Execs Explain MolDx, Its New “Molecular Diagnostic Services” Program for Clinical Pathology Laboratories,” November 15, 2011.) The MolDx program has already attracted public comments, both positive and negative.

Calgary Laboratory Services Represents One Model of Regional Consolidation of Clinical Laboratories

DATELINE: Calgary, Alberta, Canada—When it comes to regional consolidation of clinical laboratory and pathology organizations, this city at the foot of the Canadian Rockies can assert a credible claim to have achieved one of the most comprehensive consolidation comprised of hospital laboratories, academic center laboratories, and anatomic pathology laboratories seen anywhere in the world.

Officially, this unified multi-site medical laboratory organization is called Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS). Last week, your Dark Daily editor was invited to tour the main laboratory facility that CLS operates here in Calgary.

National Data Points to Major Victory in War on Hypertension

Improved patient health status for controlling high blood pressure augurs well for clinical laboratory testing industry

There’s a big win in the decade-long national effort to reduce high blood pressure in a large number of Americans. Researchers and health policy experts are hailing this accomplishment as proof that patients, physicians, and payers can work together and measurably improve the state of the nation’s health.

For pathologists and clinical laboratory managers, this is a significant development, because medical laboratory testing plays an essential role in diagnosing disease and monitoring the patient’s progress. Therefore, evidence that a national effort on different chronic diseases—such as high blood pressure—can measurably improve the state of health of large numbers of patients helps affirm the value of clinical lab tests in reaching these goals. (more…)

VA Uses Integrated Health Informatics to Produce $3 Billion in Savings

Improved Utilization of Clinical Laboratory Tests Was One Source of Significant Savings

Investment in health informatics saved the Veterans Administration (VA) more than $3 billion during the past 10 years. This was the finding of a newly-published study in Health Affairs. It is likely to have positive implications for how use of information technology (IT) improves utilization of clinical pathology laboratory tests.

Titled “The Value from Investments in Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” the study was undertaken by the Center for Information Technology Leadership. This is a Charlestown, Massachusetts-based research organization.

During the period of the study, the VA spent more than $4 billion on health information technology. As a result of that HIT investment, the VA realized total savings amounting to $7 billion. After subtracting the expense of the HIT investment, there was a net savings of $3 billion for the VA during the 10 years covered by the study.