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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Retail Clinics Are Poised to Offer More Health Services, Participate in ACOS, and Offer Expanded Menu of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests

News stories are reporting that Walgreens is participating in ACOs now forming in New Jersey, Florida, and Texas

Retail clinics are positioning themselves to play a major role in the delivery of basic primary care services. Consumer and payer acceptance of the “convenience care” model has brought the concept to a tipping point in its potential to shift the way that some basic primary care—and medical laboratory testing—services are delivered.

Dark Daily has long predicted that retail clinics would want to expand their services beyond the original formula of a nurse practitioner who handles a basic menu of easy-to-diagnose conditions. Consumers have readily accepted this healthcare delivery model. In fact, a new title has been coined that has its own page: Convenient care clinic. (more…)

India, Nepal and Sri Lanka Move to Improve Medical Laboratory Services in Response to Public Pressure

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers can expect to see more international press coverage of efforts to improve medical laboratory quality in developing countries

In some developing nations, the lack of reliable, accessible medical laboratory testing is getting wide coverage in the local press. This is true of recent events involving pathology laboratories located in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Reliability and Accuracy of Medical Laboratory Test Results

In India, the convergence of two trends is spurring government action. First, both patients and their physicians are losing confidence in the reliability of medical laboratory test results.

Second, drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) have emerged in India. The spread of these strains from India into other countries is a major concern of public health officials in nations across the globe.

Meanwhile, there is a steady flow of news stories in Nepal and Sri Lanka about how inaccurate medical laboratory test results are causing great suffering and hardship. “Many people have similar stories…of suffering,” reported Nepal journalist and U.N. Indigenous Fellow, Dev Kumar Sunuwar.” (more…)

Aetna, Humana, Kaiser, UnitedHealth Put Five Billion Medical Claims into Database for Healthcare Cost, Utilization Research

Data represents $1 trillion in spending since 2000 and contains clinical laboratory and pathology data

In what may turn out to be a positive development for clinical laboratories and pathology group practices, four of the nation’s five biggest health insurance companies will collaborate and put their medical claims data for billions of transactions into a single data base. Researchers say this database will give them an unprecedented ability to assess utilization trends and the clinical care delivered to patients covered by private health insurance.

The four health insurance companies that will provide data are:

The data provided by each of these health insurers will be submitted to the newly-created Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). This data will consist of more than five billion medical claims dating back to 2000. These claims represent more than $1 trillion in spending. The health insurers are also providing the financing required to launch HCCI. (more…)

Vermont Enacts Nation’s First Single-Payer Healthcare System Amid Controversy

Still not known is how pathologists and clinical laboratories will be paid for medical lab tests

In classic cart-before-the-horse thinking, Vermont enacted a law to institute a single-payer universal-coverage healthcare system within the state, starting in 2017. However, this law does not specify how the new healthcare system will be funded. That is the next challenge for the Vermont legislature.

Dark Daily suspects that anatomic pathology groups and clinical laboratories in the Green Mountain State will have a keen interest in learning how this new healthcare system will be funded—and how pathology services and medical laboratory tests will be reimbursed.

Vermont’s governor—Peter Shumlin—signed H.202 on May, 26, 2011. It is a bit surprising that this news has not gotten much coverage by national news outlets. After all, this is a major innovation at the state level that will definitely re-shape healthcare services in the Green Mountain State.


In Vivo Pathology Testing Might Use Injectable Microbeads to Detect Excessive Glucose Levels

Japanese Researchers Used Fluorescence to Accurately Measure Blood Glucose Levels in Mice

In Japan, researchers are developing a new in vivo diagnostic test technology that can monitor blood glucose in real time. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will quickly grasp the implications of these implantable, fluorescable microbeads that can be used to accurately and continuously measure blood sugar levels.

The Japanese researchers created tiny microbeads that glow when in contact with glucose. The beads are small enough to be injected directly into the blood stream and respond rapidly when glucose levels change. According the Shoji Takeuchi, lead researcher at the University of Tokyo’s Life Bio Electromechanical Autonomous Nano Systems Center, the microbeads are uniquely qualified to monitor diabetics’ blood sugar levels. (more…)