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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Pathology Laboratories in the United Kingdom Are Bracing for New Payment Methods and More Medical Laboratory Consolidation

Speakers lay out clear path for medical laboratories at the 11th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine

DATELINE: Birmingham, England—Pathology laboratories in the United Kingdom are undergoing change at an unprecedented pace. The impetus for change comes from both a shift in how medical laboratories will be paid, as well as the regional integration of medical laboratory services, which is occurring in communities throughout the nation.

These two powerful trends were given strong emphasis by speakers during the first day of the 11th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference, Jan. 29 and 30. What makes these two trends quite profound is that one trend revises—in a significant manner—how pathology laboratories will be paid going forward. In turn, that affects the ability of individual medical laboratories to access needed capital to acquire new instruments and new diagnostic technologies. (more…)

LabCorp’s King and Ventana Medical Systems’ Grogan to Assess Clinical Laboratory Industry’s Future

Pathologists and clinical lab executives will hear perspectives from 80 speakers at the upcoming Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management

For any pathologist or clinical laboratory executive interested in the future of the lab testing industry, there will be plenty of insights at the upcoming 15th Annual Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management April 27-28 at the New Orleans Sheraton Hotel.  Leading a line-up of 80 speakers are David King, CEO of Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE: LH) and Thomas Grogan, M.D., Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of Roche Ventana Medical Systems.

There’s lots of optimism about the future of laboratory testing. That’s because genetic and molecular testing is giving pathologists new tools to more precisely diagnose disease and determine appropriate therapies. LabCorp’s David King, will speak to how lab test data is the linchpin in the drive to more tightly integrate clinical care in ways to lift patient outcomes.


What’s Next for Upcoming Executive War College, Along with a Little Help from Our Friends

There’s good news about the 2007 Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management! It’s returning to Miami, Florida and will feature a full program numbering more than 40 of the nation’s most innovative laboratory administrators and pathologists.

Executive War College 2007 will take place on May 10-11, 2007. Location will be the InterContinental Hotel. A survey of this year’s attendees had 90% of the respondents asking to return both to Miami and to the Intercontinental Hotel. That’s a solid vote of confidence, so mark your calendars now. Last year’s event was sold out and you don’t want to be disappointed.

Along with news of the location, hotel, and dates, Dark Daily would like to ask for some help from our friends. Each year, the Executive War College provides a showcase of innovative laboratory directors and pathologists to share the cutting-edge management successes of their laboratory organizations. Dark Daily would like to use the power of the Internet to ask for your help, in two specific ways.

First, what topics would you like to have presented at the Executive War College? We encourage you to share your suggestions with us. Think about the challenges, issues, and opportunities facing your laboratory. What types of information and topics would be most valuable for you and your laboratory team?

Second, your suggestions about speakers-including yourself-are most welcome. We work hard to locate some of the industry’s most interesting innovators. You may be among them, so let us know!

In closing, we’d like to remind you to mark your calendar and block May 10-11, 2007. And you can send your suggestions for topics and speakers for Executive War College 2007 directly to Robert at With a little help from our friends, we will guarantee a crackerjack program, maybe the best ever!

Robert & Sylvia

PS: Expect to have more international attendees and networking this year. During Robert’s trip to Argentina last week, both past alumni attendees from Buenos Aires and several laboratory CEOs stated that they have already blocked the dates and will be in Miami on May 10-11.

In Argentina, Pathologists Don’t Operate Clinical Laboratories And Patients Deliver Their Own Lab Test Reports to Their Doctors

DATELINE-BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Believe it or not, Argentina is a country where pathologists are not associated with clinical laboratory testing! I am Argentina this week to speak to a group of laboratory owners, speak to health insurance executives, and visit clinical laboratories. My hosts on this trip are Sysmex Corporation and Roche Diagnostics Argentina.

The most startling thing that I learned is that pathologists do not own clinical laboratories in Argentina, nor do they manage clinical laboratories in hospitals. That responsibility is handled by clinical biochemists. Further, interaction between anatomic pathologists and clinical laboratories is relatively limited. This is a much different situation than the common clinical models and business arrangements used in the United States, Canada, and similar nations.

Another interesting difference is that doctors give their patients the laboratory test requisition. Patients then show up at the laboratory of their choice, where specimens are collected. When the results are ready, the laboratory contacts the patient, who comes by the laboratory or patient service center, picks up a paper copy of his or her test report, and then personally delivers the lab test report to his or her physician. This arrangement is counterintuitive to the American system. On the other hand, it does provide a powerful example that patients can reliably play a role this aspect of their healthcare.

Competition is intense among private laboratories in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are private health insurance companies. Labs that bid for provider status in these contracts tend to keep the prices for lab testing at unprofitably low levels. Another factor in the financial struggles of the entire health system in Argentina was the devaluation of the Argentinian Peso in 2001. The purchasing power of the Peso fell by 66% overnight! This has made the purchase of laboratory testing instruments, reagents, and other laboratory consumables prohibitively expensive for labs in Argentina. The effects of this devaluation are still dragging down the finances of this countries’ lab industry.

During this week, I gained many useful insights about laboratory management, different business models for laboratory testing, and the opportunities for laboratories in the United States to benefit from some of the experience provided by the laboratory testing marketplace in Argentina. These are examples of how innovations by laboratories in one country can be adopted by labs in other countries. I hope to share some of the more powerful innovations with you in coming weeks.

Reporting from Buenos Aires, your faithful Editor,
Robert L. Michel

(E-mail Robert at

Hot Trends in Canadian Laboratory Management

Last Monday and Tuesday, many of Canada’s most progressive laboratory administrators and pathologists gathered to attend Executive Edge in the beautiful Canadian city of Toronto. Executive Edge is a Canadian version of The Dark Report’s famous Executive War College (EWC). Like the EWC, Executive Edge produced some remarkable stories of innovation and creativity in laboratory management.

Executive Edge is produced by The Dark Report and QSE Consulting of Ontario, Canada. This is Executive Edge’s second year and it is helping to identify laboratory management best practices that can be used by almost any laboratory in any country. Laboratory medicine is a dynamic specialty in Canada and laboratories in that country are under sustained pressure to evolve, to adopt, and to survive.

Lab leaders in the United States will not be surprised to learn that our counterparts to the north are plagued by the same basic pressures. Funding for laboratory services is inadequate. At the same time, patient demand clinician utilization of laboratory testing increases annually, often at near double-digit rates. It also goes without saying that the supply of medical technologists, Ph.D.s, and pathologists is inadequate-and will increase rapidly as those baby boomers now working in laboratories take their retirement.

What may surprise many lab managers and pathologists in the United States is how laboratory organizations across Canada are responding with innovative management strategies. Because each province runs its own healthcare system-and has its own unique challenges-there is an opportunity for pathologists and lab directors to experiment with new lab organizational models.

Over the next few weeks, Dark Daily will share some of the more interesting and relevant innovations with you. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Canadian laboratories were far ahead of U.S. labs in creating regional lab networks and undertaking radical lab consolidation projects. Already in this decade, some Canadian lab organizations are breaking new ground in their attempts to make shrinking lab budgets go farther and do more for their clinicians. Upcoming Dark Daily briefings will share these innovations, along with some of the secrets that made them successful.