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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Consumer Reports Says Thousands of Doctors Facing Medical Probation Continue to See Patients; Calls for More Patient Access to Physician Disciplinary Records

Latest calls for easier public access to information on physician performance and quality is a reminder to clinical laboratories and pathology groups of the trend to greater transparency on provider outcomes

If any clinical laboratory executive or pathologist still doubts that more transparency of provider outcomes is a topic of interest to patients, they have only to look at Consumer Reports, well-respected for its advocacy on behalf of consumers. Consumer Reports is using multiple ways to educate their readers about medical errors and how the medical community makes it difficult for consumers to learn about physicians who have been involved in state medical board investigations.

One example is the Consumers Union, which is the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. Through its Safe Patient Project, the Consumers Union seeks to eliminate medical harm in healthcare.

Consumers Union advocates for increased public disclosure of information about such issues as: (more…)

Medical Tourism Continues to Flourish as U.S. Patients Seek Lower Cost Healthcare in Overseas Countries

Pathology groups and medical laboratories here in the United States still have few opportunities to provide reference or esoteric diagnostic services to healthcare providers in other countries

Despite the lack of publicity, medical tourism continues to enjoy vigorous growth as an increasing number of Americans prove willing to cross international borders to obtain healthcare that is considered of acceptable quality, but at a price that significantly cheaper than here in the United States.

What makes the trends in medical tourism relevant for clinical laboratory managers and pathologists is that it shows how U.S. consumers are reacting to high healthcare prices and other problems within the American healthcare system. In particular, our nation is experimenting with putting tens of millions of Americans in high-deductible health plans. How these consumers decide to price-shop because of their $3,000 to $10,000 per year individual and family deductibles remains to be seen. < (more…)

Pathology Laboratories in the United Kingdom to Be Challenged by New Reimbursement Models and the NHS’ Latest Call for Faster Innovation

Pathologists and medical laboratory managers will take up these issues at the upcoming Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine Conference in Birmingham, England on January 29-30, 2013

Medical laboratory testing in the United Kingdom is experiencing change at an accelerating rate. These changes reflect ongoing reforms within the National Health System (NHS), which is itself dealing with increased demand for healthcare services in the face of limited budgets.

That means providers in the United Kingdom—including pathology laboratories—are being asked to deliver more clinical services even as budgets are held constant or even reduced. There are also calls for all providers of clinical services to become more innovative in ways that improve the quality of patient services while reducing the overall cost of care. (more…)

HEDIS Data Provides Evidence that Physicians Are More Effective in Using Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests Improve Patient Care

NCQA published annual report showing increased rates of screening for most of its HEDIS quality measures and medical laboratory testing often plays a role in these screening activities

For almost a decade now, clinical laboratories and pathology groups have been asked by many private payers to provide laboratory test data for a number of clinical services. In turn, these private health insurers annually submit this data to the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) program managed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Although their medical laboratories regularly feed this data to payers, few pathologists or lab administrators track how HEDIS data is used by NCQA. Thus, it is useful to know that, over the years, HEDIS data provides evidence that better utilization of certain clinical laboratory tests by physicians directly contributes to measurable improvements in patient outcomes across the United States.

Errors Outside the Clinical Laboratory Can Lead to Fatal Consequences for Patients

Guest Commentary by: Mark Graban

Clinical laboratory professionals and leaders should be reminded that their accountability for quality and patient safety does not end at the instrument or the microscope—at least from the general public’s perception and the needs of patients.

This summer, I was walking through Boston Common and saw a woman with a homemade sign with a message about patient safety. I stopped and asked about her sign. She reminded me it was July 25, the annual observance of National Patient Safety Day.