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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In 2017, to Offset Declining Reimbursement and Shrinking Budgets, Savvy Clinical Laboratories Are Using LEAN to Improve Service and Intelligently Cut Costs

Nation’s most experienced lab operations managers, cost-cutters, and Lean experts will gather to share successes and proven ideas at Lab Quality Confab on October 18-19, 2016

Most hospitals and health systems are in the first stages of developing their budgets for 2017. Clinical laboratory administrators and pathologists at these institutions report three common factors are driving the next budget cycle: falling reimbursement, flat or declining inpatient admissions, and directives to cut their lab budgets.

“At our health system, the challenge is a bit different,” said one lab administrator at a large Midwest hospital. “Inpatient volumes are increasing, but we get less money from health insurers per admission. For that reason, our budget planning requirement is to accept a smaller budget than last year, while planning to handle more specimen volume in 2017, compared to this year.” (more…)

Adoption of Quality Management Systems Could Mean Competitive Advantage for Clinical Pathology Laboratories

ISO 15189 is a quality management system  specifically designed for the needs of medical laboratories

Use of quality management systems (QMS) by innovative clinical laboratories and pathology groups enables them to drive impressive gains in quality, customer satisfaction, and financial performance. This is a key development at a time when medical laboratory budgets are shrinking and more cuts in lab test prices are expected.

Going the Extra Mile to Improve Quality Could Be Strategic Opportunity

On all fronts of laboratory medicine, requirements are becoming more stringent. Each year, labs find themselves held to higher standards for compliance with both Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) requirements and Medicare accreditation guidelines. This situation will become further complicated as clinical labs face the need to also meet the requirements of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and similar models of integrated clinical care. Early adopters are responding to these marketplace dynamics by making strategic use of a QMS to boost the performance of their clinical laboratory organizations. As they do, they often gain a competitive advantage. (more…)

Clinical Pathology Laboratory Industry’s Innovators in Lean, ISO 15189, and Process Improvement Gather in San Antonio

Speakers at Sixth Annual Lab Quality Confab told attendees that ACOs and integration of clinical care now make it important for medical laboratories to use Lean and QMS to deliver more value while substantially reducing costs

DATELINE: SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Here at the 6th annual Lab Quality Confab and Process Improvement Institute (LQC), an enthusiastic crowd of clinical laboratory industry “first movers” gathered to learn how leading medical laboratories, pathology groups, and hospitals are harnessing the power of process improvement to drive gains in quality, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

Institute of Medicine Report RecommendsContinuous Learning

LQC’s founder and host, The Dark Report‘s (TDR) Editor-in-Chief, Robert Michel, opened the general session on day one with a look at a recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The report, titled “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America”, has significant implications for healthcare providers. Including clinical laboratories. (more…)

Clinical Laboratories in United States Show More Interest in ISO 15189 Accreditation

It may be a small number of 15189-accredited medical laboratories, but these are prominent lab organizations and their ranks are growing

One by one, a small number of innovative clinical laboratory organizations are taking steps to earn accreditation to either ISO 15189 or CAP 15189. This is a quiet trend and one that has yet to attract widespread notice across the world of medical laboratory and pathology testing.

It is a trend that touches clinical lab organizations of all sizes. For example, many lab executives may be surprised to learn that multibillion-dollar Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE: LH) has five different clinical laboratory locations that have earned accreditation to CAP 15189. (more…)

American Hospital Association Says Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing Could Put Hospital Revenue at Risk

Where hospital margins to be squeezed, that would place hospital laboratories under greater budget constraints

Hospitals are honing in on Medicare’s new value-based purchasing program quality metrics in an effort to improve patient care—and earn reimbursement rewards. Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists will want to track implementation of this program, because it is one further step forward in Medicare’s plan to move away from fee-for-service reimbursement.

As part of its effort to drive quality improvement at U.S. hospitals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules in 2011 for the first year of its Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (HVBP). The program is a pay-for-performance initiative that begins in fiscal 2013. Modern Healthcare reported on this story.

“[The HVBP structure] has been very eye-opening to a lot of people because we are not used to being compared that way,” observed Jeff Costello. He is Chief Financial Officer at Memorial Hospital & Health System in South Bend, Indiana. This 526-bed institution is on the latest Thomson Reuters’ 100 Top Hospitals list.