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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Clinical Pathology Laboratories Should Prepare for the iPad Era!

It’s All About “Apps” as Physicians Rush to Adopt iPads for Use in Clinical Settings

Evidence is building that iPads are a hit with physicians. Experts are astonished at the rate at which physicians are adopting iPads for their daily clinical practice. That means every clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology group in the United States will need a strategy on how to allow physicians to use their iPads to order medical laboratory tests and view lab results.

One secret as to how clinical laboratories can serve physicians using iPads is to offer them an “app.”  Physicians are more intrigued with the apps that can run on the iPad than they are with the hardware itself, according to a recent survey. Even a growing number of hospitals are adopting iPads for use in clinical settings.


Pathologists and Clinical Labs Can Expect to See More Companion Diagnostic Tests

Pharmaceutical Companies Partnering with IVD Manufacturers to Develop Companion Diagnostic Tests for their Therapeutic Drugs

Growing acceptance of companion diagnostics is a trend with the potential to greatly increase the value that clinical pathology laboratory testing delivers to physicians, patients, and payers. In 2010, it was increasingly common to see a pharmaceutical company announce an agreement with an in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturer to develop a companion diagnostic test specifically for a therapeutic drug under development by that pharmaceutical company.

As most pathologists and clinical managers know, use of a companion diagnostic test is expected to add precision to the physician’s decision to prescribe therapeutic drugs. Thus, the increased number of public announcements during 2010 about companion diagnostic test development deals involving a pharmaceutical company and an IVD manufacturer indicates this trend is establishing solid roots. (more…)

Canadian Province of Ontario Makes Progress on Standardizing EORLA’s 19 Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Regional laboratory network wants to standardize lab test menus, methods, and LIS

In Canada’s Ontario Province, an ambitious effort to create a single, multi-site regional clinical pathology laboratory system is moving forward. Called the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association, Inc., (EORLA), it involves the clinical laboratories of 19 hospitals.

EORLA’s current clinical goals and business objectives reflect the experience of almost 25 years of laboratory cost-cutting and consolidation in Ontario. It was the mid-1980s when the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care began enacting measures to control the cost of clinical laboratory and pathology testing.


Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Expected to Encourage Appropriate Use of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests

ACO model encourages clinical integration involving hospitals and office-based physicians

Here in Texas, the portion of the Obamacare Health Law that creates Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and an ACO payment mechanism has caught the full attention of the state’s largest multi-hospital health systems. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers across the nation should take this activity in Texas as an early sign that ACOs are a care delivery model that must be taken seriously.

That’s because two things are happening in Texas. First, across the state, hospitals and health systems are actively developing ACOs. Second, anticipating restricted access to patients, physicians in smaller practices are starting to either sell their practices to the local hospital/health system, or are merging their group with larger medical practices.

Both activities are likely to fundamentally change the way clinical laboratories in Texas compete for the laboratory test referrals from office-based physicians. This could occur  once the ACOs now in organization initiate clinical services.


New Obamacare Mandate on Screening and Preventive Care May Benefit Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Increased medical laboratory test utilization might result from this new policy

Last month, another Obamacare mandate took effect which may lead to an increased volume of laboratory tests referred to the nation’s clinical laboratories and pathology groups. Effective on September 23, 2010, health plans must cover a host of screening and preventive medical services for which patients are not to be required to pay any money out-of-pocket.

It would appear that this mandate was included in the 2,700-page healthcare reform law as a benefit to consumers—thus giving democratic lawmakers a positive feature that they could talk up with their voters. These 75+ preventative and screening services (thanks to the new health reform legislation) have the potential to increase the volume of laboratory testing specimens, if large numbers of consumers were take advantage of these “free” medical services. (more…)